The short film Last Night at the Ellington has just finished filming in downtown Charleston. Passersby may have seen the film crew in several spots, including the Faculty Lounge, Charleston Music Hall, and the American Theater, but director Geoffrey Gunn says there was one location in particular that drew the most attention. “Diners at Rue de Jean will probably remember us as the crew in the alleyway keep our camera pointed at the masked men bursting out the back door of the music hall. The film is now entering the post-production phase, with a planned release date some time early next year.
Gunn has written several movies, but this is his debut as a director. ‘The biggest challenge moving from behind the keyboard to behind the camera has really been shifting my focus from expressing myself in words on the page to words spoken aloud to the many, many people needed to make a film come together,” Gunn says. “So far I’ve been very fortunate to have a great production team, including a fantastic crew during the shoot this week.”
The film is about a man’s last night working at a theater. It also happens to be the same night the theater is robbed, but that’s not the real thrust of the film, Gunn says. “I think one of my fabulous cast members, Daniel Jones, said it best about this short that, even though the story’s about the robbery of a movie theater, the movie is really about friendship and change. It’s more about the guys working at the theater, the relationship they have, almost like a family, and what effect the robbery has on this relationship.”
The movie was funded by South Carolina Film Commission — Gunn’s is one of five film projects that received an S.C. Indie Grant award, which awards filmmakers $12,500 to help with film costs.