A movie made in the backyard of Grand Lake will have its debut on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Grove Cinema 6.
Ghosts Under the Water, created by Zenawood Entertainment, will show at 7 p.m., at the theatre in Grove. Cost is the regular cost of a movie ticket.
Joshua Miller, director and creator, said while the movie is not rated, it is comparable to a R rating.
The film includes elements of crime, ghosts, and love stories, along with a mixture of action and horror.
"The movie is intense but because of what our backyard has to offer, this movie is equally beautiful," Miller said. "Playing our movie here in Grove felt like the right thing and Cinema 6 agreed to host us, terrific folks.
"Viewers can expect to get pulled into a murder-mystery-style action film with some supernatural elements. The movie centers around the lake, it’s the central character of the film."
Miller said the idea for the film grew out of the local myths and stories he would hear while growing up in the Zena area. Miller's work was also inspired by David Lynch and his work in the first two seasons of Twin Peaks.
More about the film
Ghosts On the Water also grew out of a desire to "finally make something that featured the beauty" of the Grand Lake region.
It has multiple competing themes within storyline including a sheriff who is trying to find the source of lake-related murders, which takes him into some strange situations; an author who brings his family for a vacation while he mines local sources for his next book; and a local waitress who is forced to deal with the drama and tragedy centering around the lake's quiet crimes and unspoken mysteries.
"There is a foreboding element to this film, a sense that something deeper is always happening even when we can’t see it," Miller said.
On a personal note, Miller said he was motivated to create the film because of an opportunity to work with his friends.
"We have this group called Team Zenawood, it’s a big group of highly creative people whom join together to make these projects," he said, adding most reside in the Tri-State area of Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
"They are very fun and talented individuals," Miller said. "Something people don’t realize about making movies is that production is an absolute blast and wonderful time to take on seemingly impossible challenges. It is such an adventure."
Much of the film was shot throughout Grand Lake utilizing public access, the state park and Wolf Creek Park.
"The more important locations were at my friends’ home, the McCabes and at Horse Creek Resort," Miller said. "People went above and beyond to help us access the lake and get some beautiful footage."
Miller said the team also shot some footage on Lake Eucha, which he called "a delight."
He began writing Ghosts Under the Water in the winter of 2016. Production began during the summer of the same year and ended in November 2018.
"The post-production process is a grind and is one of the lonelier parts of the creative process," Miller said. "[But] by the time we finish editing a film, we can’t wait to get another production going because it is just so much fun."
He estimates he has more than 3,000 hours invested in the project.
"Editing can take a long time on smaller budget films, if one cares about quality," Miller said. "This movie required massive amounts of time, especially the editing. This time commitment is the price you pay for quality when making micro budget films. Typically, a film takes me 1,200 hours or less but this one had a great many hidden challenges."
Filming with Lady Grand
Miller said it was an adventure to shoot on the water.
"I would do it again," Miller said. "I have actually begun to consider specializing in that a bit more because it is so fun but make no mistake, it is incredibly challenging.
"These cameras we use are not waterproof and it is really difficult to find affordable cases to scuba-dive with them, we had to find other ways to get underwater footage. We all loved the experience."
Miller said there are numerous people in this film.
"I think local moviegoers would find it difficult to not catch a few familiar faces," Miller said. "If you do see some people you know be sure to tell them how great of a job they did."
Miller hopes his audience comes to the film expecting it to be an unusual experience.
"I can’t create typical material, it’s just not in me to be able to do that," Miller said. "I want audiences to be able to take in some unique moments. I want them to watch this film like they are on a ride.
"I hope the audience can come to this film and maybe forget about themes, just sit back and let everything happen the way it’s going to. I hope folks just have a good time, that’s what entertainment is all about."
Miller began by making horror/thriller films. He said he will have a few more come out in the next few years.
"Right now I am in production on a sci-fi/action film," Miller said. "That is the direction I am trying to move towards: action, fantasy, sci-fi, maybe a bit more comedy.
"Ghosts Under the Water is an opportunity to transition into a different kind of genre, a crime/thriller with bits of action allowed us to find new ways to entertain our audiences."
He is currently post-production for four different films and in production of his action film.
"I will be writing two more screenplays soon and will also be making plans to move into some online entertainment a bit more," Miller said. "The acting game is something I am probably going to take a bit more seriously in 2019. The next two full length films Zenawood will produce will be the last film in a trilogy and a martial arts film.
"Another big next thing on the agenda is spending time securing funding for future films. We are looking to move beyond micro budget films and into some mid-level funded features."
He appreciates help offered to both himself and his film company by members of the community.
"It is impossible to be an effective filmmaker without a supportive community," Miller said.
Zenawood Entertainment Filmography
The films available to be viewed at this time are on Amazon Prime are
Want a taste of Ghosts On the Water? View the trailer here: https://youtu.be/Lb13MHqVENc.