Dylan Heath and Lola.
Filmmakers Addison Heath and Jasmine Jakupi were two days away from flying to the US to shoot crime comedy An American Masquerade when travel restrictions scuttled that plan.
Frustrated after spending nearly $10,000 on new camera equipment, they decided to write and direct Good Girl Lola, a fast-turnaround, found footage/horror/comedy/Western, with COVID-19 as a kind of unseen monster.
To circumvent the safe distancing rules, they are filming virtually all the scenes in the living room of the Melbourne house they share with Addison’s brother, actor/producer Dylan Heath.
It’s a 10-day shoot, probably followed by two pick-up days. DOP Jakupi, who is using Blackmagic and GoPro cameras and green screen, tells IF: “Even in quarantine we can still be creative.”
Partners in Black Forest Films, they are editing in-house and will engage a post house to complete.
In a case of art imitating life, Dylan Heath plays Dylan, an actor who was about to make a film in the US before the pandemic struck. He sets out to make a cheesy Western while he grows increasingly unhappy about being separated from his girlfriend Lucy (Trudi Ranik).
Forced to communicate with Lucy via Zoom and Facetime, Dylan relies on the companionship of his dog Lola.
Trudi Ranik and Dylan Heath.
Heath and Jakupi play themselves and the supporting cast includes Shawn C Phillips, Cris Cochrane, Rob Stanfield, Mabel Tamone and Nadia Hunter, most of whom are characters in the Western.
Heath says: “It’s great to have full control. No one on set wants to go home each night.”
As for release plans, they are looking at making the film available for free initially for a day or two on an online platform, followed by the festivals circuit and commercial sales.
Dylan was set to star in An American Masquerade alongside Elissa Dowling, Yoji Yamada (who appeared in Addison and Jasmine’s dark drama/horror The Viper’s Hex) and Trent Agar.
The filmmakers intend to make the film when travel restrictions are lifted, shooting in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon.