‘Arcadia’: Action, Adventure and Mystery Filmed in Southeast Ohio

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Sometimes, in order to really do something; you just have to plunge headlong into it and do it.

For director Andy Hall, that meant plunging headfirst into the making of Arcadia, an art house film released earlier this year, crafted with a measly budget of barely $12,000.

Although the film has only been out since March, it has already been selected by the New York City Indie Film Awards, the Endless Mountain Film Fest and the Action on Film International Film Festival and Writer’s Celebration.

It all started with the grounds of the newly renovated People’s Bank Theatre in Marietta.

“I was involved in fundraising for the opening of the People’s Bank Theatre, so I had some access to it before it was re-opened,” said Hall. “The person who was heading up the fundraising made a comment about how someone should make a film in the old theater building before the restoration was complete. I thought ‘that’s a good idea,’ and I decided to do it myself.”

What Hall had anticipated to be a short film grew, over the spans of the year or so of filming, into a full-length, 85-minute feature.

The movie details the adventures of a curious journalist (played by Athens’ own Yang Miller) who decides to investigate the directions he finds in a map that he happens upon in a bookseller’s booth. What results is a surreal, action-packed exploration of the nature of identity and what role art plays in the formation of the self; all against a gorgeous backdrop of a whole lot of Brothers Quay-inspired spooky eye-candy.

“One thing I kept in mind from the beginning was the old adage ‘show, don’t tell’,” said Hall. “I took that general tactic and started to think about how much I like to see strange things in film. I thought about how I wanted to show things with a sort of vintage quality, things that weren’t invented in the past 70 years or so and that are fascinating to look at. I kept on thinking of things that would be fascinating visually and sort of wrote dialogue as it was needed. It all evolved into a unique and powerful story.”

Hall, who described himself as a mostly self-taught filmmaker, said that the making of Arcadia was truly a learning experience for everyone involved.

Athens' own Yang Miller plays the protagonist in Andy Hall's "Arcadia," which will receive a special viewing at the Athena on July 31. (
Athens’ own Yang Miller plays the protagonist in Andy Hall’s “Arcadia,” which will receive a special viewing at the Athena on July 31. (

“I had to learn lots and lots of things on set and off, and I was constantly studying and storyboarding,” said Hall. “Marietta is a small town, and right now they don’t really have a film community. So the crew I was able to put together was entirely volunteer, and not too many people had a lot of experience. So the people running sound for the movie were running sound for the first time; the cameramen were filming like this for the first time. We were all really learning at the same time and trying to keep an eye on one another.”

Hall put together his crew with the help of a Facebook page, which recruited everyone from actors to extras to sound technicians. Since he had a hodgepodge of a willing crew, he started to form the movie as to play to the strengths of the people who stepped forward to take part in the filming.

“I started casting people because maybe I liked their look. If someone was exotic I would cast them in a exotic part, and if I knew they could improvise, I would write an improvised scene for them,” said Hall.

Marietta College’s theater department was also instrumental in the making of the film, with several students stepping forward for roles in the film and one professor, Andy Felt, taking on one of the leading roles. The theater department at the college also helped out Hall’s crew with some of their costume needs.

The funds for the movie came from all over, including two Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaigns, a personal loan that Hall took out, a grant from the Ohio Arts Council and a generous $5,000 contribution from Zane and Margaret Lazer.

Hall said that he has entered Arcadia into about 25 film festivals that he will continually hear back from until around January of next year. At some point he hopes to secure some type of distribution for the film.

“I think people will enjoy the film a lot,” said Hall. “It does not look like a micro budget film, it looks a little more special than that, and I think people will be pleased with it.”

Athens area film fanatics can catch a viewing of the film on July 31 at the Athena Cinema. That presentation of the film will also feature a Q&A session with Hall and the opportunity to pick up various Arcadia promotional materials.

For more information on the film, visit