Stacia Allen is back in Iowa, and if you want her, there's a good chance you'll find her behind her computer at Central Perk. She sits there, drinks tea and writes all day.
That's what she said.
Allen is the daughter of Kathy and Richard Allen, of Clare. She's a 2003 St. Edmond graduate, but what she's most known for - or will be soon - is a full-length feature film called "Farmer."
It's a story about the area, about farming and keeping on keeping on.
"Mostly what we want the world to know is that we love this community and are truly trying to honor it through this film," she said. "It's a love letter to my childhood and to my dad, who is a farmer."
She's already produced a short - gee, now I know Hollywood talk - to send to festivals and to use as a come-on to get people excited about the movie, which likely won't hit the streets for several years. Shooting isn't planned for two years yet.
There's a bunch of work that comes between now and then.
The premise of "Farmer" is close to Allen's heart, she said. "We're watching the emotional reactions people have to extreme financial crisis. It's a risk-for-reward society. It takes place during the farm debt crisis in the '80s. It's really a good way to talk about what's going on right now. Parallel with the past, but about the present."
Allen's last big gig came with Jeff Litsky, who she refers to as "the godfather of independent cinema." She was head of the art department for his film "Twelve Thirty," now out in big cities. If you look it up online, you'll see she gets sixth billing - production designer - on his list of filmmaker who's who.
It's a gas just to see that.
A graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, the biggest film school in the world, Allen's now working on "Farmer" almost exclusively. Her producer is her friend Rachel Stratman, from the St. Louis area. They met at Columbia.
"I'm the writer and director," Allen said. "It's my baby."
Her short baby has been a semi-finalist in the Sundance Screenwriters competition and premiered on the film festival circuit at the Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival in late March.
"It was a great experience," she said. "It was really fun to premier in LA. From there, the next day we went to the Independent Film Festival in Cedar Rapids and we won that. The best professional short. The same week we premiered, we were notified our next festival is going to be the Athens International Film Festival in Athens, Ohio. That one's really big for us. It's an Academy-qualifying festival. Whoever wins that festival is in the running to be considered for the Oscars."
She said "Farmer" will screen on April 28, the closing day of the festival, and that's considered a good time.
Her trip to Iowa will, she hopes, help her raise money for the feature film project. Before the big mess with all the movie people in the state, she'd been accepted to get tax incentives from the state.
I don't know if that's still the case or if all the problems with other people put her in jeopardy.
She did say, "things just started working out at that point. It felt blessed," which doesn't sound like a program in peril.
Allen plans on shooting "Farmer" in Webster County. She has an actor she'd like to see as the lead, but she's not telling.
"I just need to garner interest in the project itself," she said. "It's about farmers and the people who live here and what they go through. We're trying to give a voice to the people you don't hear very often in film. So many of us are affected by financial worries or crisis, and this isn't just a story about farmers, it's about what that kind of stress does to you and your family."
If you're interested, Allen's movie website is www.thefarmermovie.com. She's on Facebook and Twitter, too.
You've got to be all over, I guess, when you're making a movie. Else, who's going to know about you.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org