It had been over a decade since Jack Lewars spent any length of time in Lancaster County outside of the occasional visit to his folks. In August 2011, he returned to his childhood home of Mount Joy and its surrounding areas for four weeks to create a film by the same name. During those four weeks, we found out, there were quite a few noteworthy experiences, including, but not limited to crashing vehicles into buildings and burning a barn to the ground. When they weren’t wreaking havoc on our serene farming community, Jack and the team were busy making connections with local businesses and filming the scenes that will eventually become the movie.
The story line follows a group of friends and their attempts at making their band a success in the wake of a break-up between the lead singer and his girlfriend. Unlike some films that take place in a certain town but are actually filmed elsewhere, Mount Joy was all shot right here in Lancaster County. The crew got permission from Good’s Disposal service to use their trucks and uniforms for the movie, and Jack tells how a run-in with the police landed them an “in” to film in the holding cells at the police station downtown. The Chameleon Club also gets showcased as the backdrop for some of the band scenes. Local interest is building with supporters growing through facebook and twitter, and it certainly helps that local news stations like WGAL 8 and Fox 43 have taken notice as well.
Jack co-wrote the script with fellow Mount Joy native and writer Mark Mena, and derived a lot of the content from his own childhood experiences. His wife Katie plays the roll of the love interest and also helped to produce the film. He told us that directing and producing a movie with such a small budget has taken its toll on him with the high stress of coordinating so many aspects of the film and trying to work around obstacles like weather and traffic patterns. But when we asked him if he would do it again, he said he plans to stick with it, because “it does come with great rewards in the end”.
Mount Joy is expected to release in the fall of 2012 and Jack plans to submit it to Sundance and SXSW film festivals in 2013. You can view the trailer for Mount Joy HERE and if you would like to follow their progress or support the movie, check them out at www.mountjoymovie.com.
As always, thanks for listening!
Photos Courtesy of Bianca Cordova, www.biancacordovaphotography.com
Support for this episode provided by WindingWay Books and Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.