Filmmaker shoots in West Jefferson
Hollywood is considered the "Home of Dreams," but sometimes your dream has to be portable.
Mas Freeman, a film producer based in Los Angeles, Ca., had explored the Todd area several years ago as a location for his Edgewater project, but after the recession led to the erosion of funding, he put together a smaller project and still had the Blue Ridge Mountains in his mind's eye.
Freeman collected regional actors and crew and brought them to West Jefferson for a week to film The One-Eyed Doe, the project he wrote and directed. He took advantage of what he considers a prime, untapped setting for movies.
"I decided to do this movie first (before Edgewater), hoping to get some momentum," Freeman said. "I found an old farmhouse right in the middle of West Jefferson. I used it because of scouting Edgewater, and I was actually surprised Ashe County didn't have any permit restrictions. Everyone has been real nice and supportive of the project."
While locals might have noticed cranes used for high camera shots, Freeman kept the location closed for an intense week of work.
"We needed to get the filming done," Freeman said. "We used cinema verite, film techniques of documentary filmmaking blended with more traditional elements. We had a cast of seven, with a small crew, and it was sort of guerilla filmmaking."
The One-Eyed Doe is adapted from an Aesop's fable, with Freeman writing and directing it under his World Creator Films shingle. Though it has some experimental techniques, it relies on classic storytelling arcs to merge commercial and independent elements.
"Two sisters travel home to the North Carolina Mountains to reconnect with their terminally ill mother, only to discover a secret awaits them," Freeman said. "The rural farmhouse and Christmas Tree farm are a perfect setting for a horror-type movie."
Freeman was raised in Charlotte and discovered a love for movies at an early age.
"I remember the first film I ever saw was Clash of the Titans, and I was 7 or 8 years old and fascinated by the scope of the stop-action figures," he said. "I knew I had to somehow get involved in films."
Freeman recently finished editing the film and is now submitted it for fall film festivals. He's also hoping to set up some local screenings and expose audiences to his visual style.
"With independent filmmaking, there needs to be more than the sheer thrill of entertainment," Freeman said. "You have to respect story and character. This is a supernatural thriller with what's relatable to America today - a crumbling economy, crippling health care, and, for women, breast cancer, and how desperate you can get in this health system."
Freeman is still planning to produce Edgewater and return to the High Country to utilize its settings.