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Northstate filmmakers pursue big screen dreams

Published On: Mar 02 2014 11:32:03 PM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

On Oscar night we say, “hooray for Hollywood.” Film fans admire the work from afar, knowing that a lot of money went into these movies.

But they all started somewhere, including locally. The budgets are tiny, but the dreams are big. Northstate filmmakers are taking advantage of what they have.

"We don't have people flying around on wires and green screen and everything,” said Redding filmmaker Daniel Nichols. “But we felt like we want to make movies, and why should location be something that'll stop you from making, or following your dream."

Whether it is location or people, it is all hands on deck to make their movie fantasies a reality.

Northstate filmmakers, like husband and wife team Matthew and Joy Thayer of speropictures, are taking a hands-on approach to creative projects. They are doing it on a smaller scale than their big-budget counterparts.

"It's because we're passionate about it,” Matthew said. “Hollywood's becoming a little stale because they focus so much on spectacle, like how can we make something bigger, better, and more grandiose and blow people away. They think that's what draws people to the theater. But what draws people to the theater is just pure storytelling."

As winners of several 2013 Sundial Film Festival awards with their short film “Lemonade” they are making the most of Redding's resources.

“Even in competition there's a lot of cross-pollinating,” Joy said. “So I'm working on your project, you're working on my project. I'm helping hold sound on this one and acting in the other one."

Along with their friends and family, they are the directors, producers, and writers, among other responsibilities. It is a community that allows them to flourish, especially when they do not need humongous travel budgets.

“You're a couple hours away from a desert. You have lakes, you have mountains, and you have a small town. You're not that far from San Francisco if you want to go down to like a bigger city. You've got agriculture. There's just a lot of different diversity as far as even locations,” Matthew said.

But without the big Hollywood bangs and booms, They still need to get the viewers’ attention.

"When you have the limitations financially that we have, you have to focus on story,” Matthew said. “You have to focus on telling a good story and doing it well."

Many in the area do this on the side. They have full-time jobs, but are putting in hours in their free time, with hopes of one day walking the Academy's red carpet.

"We just do it. It's kind of like breathing,” Matthew said. “I don't know, it's weird. I couldn't stop doing it if I wanted to."