buffs may enjoy hearing that the team of filmmakers who spent the summer
of 1999 on the Ohio River making the Unlimited hydroplane movie are still
busy making new films. In fact, I experienced a Madison moment
during my visit to this years Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis.
Rusty Gorman, a Marion, Ind., native who worked as Second Unit Director
on the film Madison, held the world premiere of his new movie,
Home of the Giants, on Saturday, Oct. 20 in Castleton, a northeastern
suburb of Indianapolis.
The screening took place at the Clearwater Crossing 12 Cinema, one of
several Heartland Film Festival screening sites. The event drew a packed
house, mostly of Marion residents and Gorman family members. Gorman wrote
and directed the independent film with a budget of just under $5 million.
director Rusty Gorman of
Marion, Ind., and actress Danielle
Panabaker are shown on
location in Greensboro, N.C.
Also in the crowd were Madison movie
director and co-author Bill Bindley of Indianapolis, First Assistant Director
Greg Malone, who served as Associate Producer for Madison,
and actor Mark Fauser of Marion. Fauser played the goofy Travis in the
movie Madison. Larry Blanford, an Indiana native who filmed
the boat race scenes in Madison, also served as Director of
Photography for Home of the Giants.
Whats more, Madison actor Brent Briscoe, a Missouri
native who donned a cowboy hat to play Miss Madison crew chief Tony Steinhardt,
had a prominent role in Gormans film. Briscoe dons a mustache to
play a villainous bar owner in Home of the Giants. The role
is quite a stretch from his hydroplane race team character.
Home of the Giants (www.homeofthegiants.com) is a coming-of-age
story told through the eyes of Robert Gar Gartland, a high
school journalist who covers the basketball team as it heads toward a
state championship. Gars best friend, Matt Dunbar (actor Ryan Merriman),
is the teams star. But when Matt is duped by his drug-dealing brother
Keith (actor Kenneth Mitchell) to throw the state championship game so
his brother can cash in on a bet, Gar inevi-tably gets caught in the middle.
Gar is played by child star Haley Joel Osment, an Academy Award-nominated
actor who flew in from New York to attend the premiere and the Crystal
Heart Awards ceremony, held later that evening at Conseco Fieldhouse.
After the movie screening at Heartland, Osment and Gorman fielded several
questions from the crowd. Osment said he was inspired by his experience
of working with Gorman and now wants to be a director. He attends New
York Universitys Tisch School of the Arts, where he is studying
Osment, now 19, has acting in his blood. He is the son of Los Angeles
theatrical actor Michael Eugene Osment (who incidentally has a small role
as a police officer) and Theresa Osment, a teacher. His sister is actress
Emily Osment of the Disney Channel TV series Hannah Montana.
He got his start in Hollywood filming a pizza commercial. That led to
dozens of other roles in film and television. For instance, at age 6 he
played Forrest Gumps son in Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks.
At age 10 he starred in the 1999 thriller Sixth Sense with
actor Bruce Willis. He most recently starred in Pay It Forward
For Gorman, who resides in Chicago, this was his first solo directorship,
although he has worked on many other projects. Gorman and Bindley go back
to their days as film students at Northwestern University in Chicago.
They were in the class of 1984 together. Following graduation, they collaborated
on a 24-minute, sports-themed short film, Sportsmans Field.
It took top honors at film festivals in Chicago, Houston and Canada.
From there, the two pursued separate careers, but
their paths crossed again with Madison, filmed in 1999 and
funded by a group of Chicago investors. They are credited as associate
directors in Miracle Beach, filmed in 1992.
Gorman also worked on such films as The Abyss, Think
Big, and Zombie High. He has also produced other shorts
and industrial and promotional films.
The son of a dentist, Gorman and his wife now has three small children
and reside in Chicago.
Bindley, meanwhile is developing a gritty high school prison drama for
20th Century Fox and Sacco & Vanzetti. It is the true story of the
legendary 1927 murder trial of two Italian immigrants and stars John Turturro.
In his post-screening remarks, Gorman thanked Bindley for allowing him
to sleep on his couch at Bindleys Los Angeles apartment
during filming of the movie in L.A. Much of the movie was shot in Greensboro,
Asked why he doesnt shoot more movies in Indiana, Gorman explained
that the state does not offer tax incentives like many other states to
help filmmakers cut production costs. He said Louisiana, New Mexico and
North Carolina are among a handful of states that offer huge incentives
that are not being ignored by todays filmmakers.
Asked about the toughest part of making a movie, Gorman said it is the
short amount of time a crew has to film scenes because the actors are
usually on a tight schedule, and anything can and usually does
happen to create challenges to getting the job done.
Prior to the Home of the Giants screening, Gorman said he
had fond memories of his time spent in Madison. He said sales of the movie
DVD have done well, adding, It takes a while for momentum to build
for an independent film.
He may not have to wait long for momentum to catch up to Home of
the Giants. He told the audience that he should know in a
couple of weeks on a possible film distribution offer by a major
Madison movie fans know from experience that it can often
take months or even years before the world takes notice
of an independent film that has the potential to be widely accepted by
the public. Madison wrapped in 1999 and was shown at the January
2001 Sundance Film Festival, receiving rave reviews. But it did not see
its limited nationwide film release until April 2005 a span of
Either way, its good to know that the same group of Hoosiers who
made Madison are seeing their creative spirits shine in other
projects that have the promise to make it to the big screen.
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout.
Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email him at: Don@RoundAboutMadison.com.