While going for a routine morning run, Calvin Jacobs (Landon Beard) discovers the body of a young woman who has been beaten and left for dead. He recognizes her as Robin (Lillian Bornstein), a college crush from his undergraduate years. Unknowingly, Calvin has just taken his first steps into a dark and dangerous world. It is not long before Robin returns to Calvin with a bold request -– she wants him to kill the man that victimized her. Reluctantly, Calvin agrees to look into the situation.
Karl Screase (Eric Moyer) is a man who is as spontaneous as he is dangerous. His moral compass is shattered and as Robin puts it, “he thrives on control and requires vengeance.” Calvin doesn’t make it one day before he winds up on Karl’s radar, and that’s when the game begins. Karl’s persistent psychological torment pushes Calvin to a moral breaking point that ends with the ultimatum: kill Robin, or Karl is going to kill him. In effect, Calvin has become the rope in a homicidal tug of war.
Amidst all this, Calvin is paid a visit by his father (Corkey Ford – Platoon (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989)), who offers him some sage advice that resonates with Calvin through the rest of the story. Calvin resolves to withdraw from Karl and Robin’s game of death, a naïve optimism that only pulls him in deeper. His attempts to walk away are met with swift brutality. Ultimately, Calvin finds that the only way back to the light is through the darkness.
Running Through Darkness will be shown on Sunday, November the 11th, 3:25 PM at Strasburg Town Hall. Tickets can be found on the film’s event page.
Director Biography – Peter O’Brien
He earned a Creative Writing degree from Purchase College, SUNY, where he honed his story-telling skills. Inspired by the tradition of independent filmmaking, he simultaneously and autonomously cultivated his filmmaking skills. Peter approaches his craft fueled with self-reliance, inventive resourcefulness, and meticulous commitment. He dovetails his vision with realism to push every project to its creative potential.
Peter’s writing has often been described as dark and detailed and his films have always been praised for their technical and narrative proficiency.
If there is one thing I have learned from low budget filmmaking, it is that things are going to change, no matter how much time you take. About a year and half before Running Through Darkness started to come together as a film, I was going to write a short script for a Film Noir anthology that was being produced locally. I came up with the idea, but ultimately did not get around to writing that script. The idea hung around though, and I decided to develop it further into a feature. I pitched the film to my DP on the way home from a screening of DARK STAR (1974), and he was on board before we hit the city limits. From there we started scouting locations while I was working on the story to maximize production value.
It had been a while since I tackled a feature. The last one I made was shot in 2011, premiered in 2013 and finally released in 2017 – not to mention that the first draft was written in 2003. After realizing that my last film took 14 years to complete I wanted to do something fast and not dwell on every little thing. The most important thing was to have something fresh and energetic. Something that everyone involved would enjoy working on, as much as seeing the final product. That was partially where the idea for the main character being a runner came from, just capitalizing on that energy and using it to set the pace for not only the film, but the production.
For me, the project really came together when Corkey Ford joined the cast. I had recently become aware that he was living in Lincoln, NE and was familiar with his work, especially in Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July (1989). I wrote the part of Mr. Jacobs specifically for Corkey in the hope that he would respond to the material and accept the role. When he (who had worked with some amazing talents and been in Academy Award winning films) wrote back to me, not only praising my writing, but accepting the role, I knew we had something special on our hands. I think his monologue regarding time resonates not only within the story, but also the production.
Looking back, it is easy to see the road that led me to this point, but as the events were happening, I had no idea that the stars were aligning in a way that would make Running Through Darkness the smoothest and funnest project I had ever filmed. Not that we didn’t have our hurdles along the way, but things just kind of fell into place and I think part of it was beginning with the knowledge that things are going to change, so just keep on going and at the end of it all, there will be a movie.