A brand new feature film, shot almost entirely in Pocahontas County, will have its world premiere Sunday in Charleston as part of the 2013 FestivALL Arts Celebration.
The premiere of the film, "Angel's Perch" will be followed by screenings in various locations around the state, including Elkins - at Elkins Cinema 8 on Monday and Wednesday - and Huntington, Beckley, Morgantown and Wheeling.
The movie, produced in partnership with the West Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, is an independent feature film that examines the delicate relationship between past and present, memory and loss as depicted by a family struggling with Alzheimer's disease.
Screenwriter and star J.T. Arbogast, left, and producer Kimberly Dilts talk on the set of ‘Angel’s Perch,’ shot in Pocahontas County.
J.T. Arbogast, who wrote and stars in the film, got his inspiration from his roots in Cass and his family's experience with Alzheimer's, which currently affects over 5.4 million Americans.
"It's a story that's not dissimilar from that of millions of people who've watched this disease slowly take away a loved one and felt powerless to stop it," Arbogast said. "We struggle to find an answer to the question, 'What can I do?' For us, the answer came in the form of making a film."
Following selected screenings, audience members are invited to stick around for a Q&A session with the filmmakers.
"People always ask us what it's like to be on a film set or what goes into making it all happen," said Kimberly Dilts, one of the producers of the film. "We want to pull back the curtain on the filmmaking process and make the audience feel as if they've come along with us on the journey."
Arbogast and Dilts both credit the film's completion to the assistance of many local people and organizations in the area, including the West Virginia chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, Snowshoe Mountain Resort and all of the local friends and family who helped along the way.
"We had to film it on location because there is no way to recreate Cass or Pocahontas County," Arbogast said.
The film was funded through a Kickstarter campaign, and with the assistance of the West Virginia Film Group, who help attract films and productions with a tax credit incentive. The production was able to get back 31 percent of the money spent to film in the state and used it for post-production.
"Everyone has been amazing about helping us along the way," Dilts said. "We really wanted to provide the world a different look of the state, and that's something people are really receptive to in the area."
"I hope people come out and see it," Arbogast said. "It's a love letter to the state and to the people we call our family."
The film is showing at Elkins Cinema 8 on Monday and Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. The 7 p.m. Monday showing will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers.
The film will also be shown at various community venues in Pocahontas County over the July 4th weekend. For more information and a full list of screening times and locations, visit angelsperch.com.
Contact Chad Clem via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.