The Jacksonville Film Festival seems like it’s starting to make a modest comeback, screening such films as Durden Godfrey’s I am Going to Kill Someone This Friday. The film fest is largely defunct, but the non-profit under that name is looking to hold screenings throughout the year.
Durden Godfrey is a Jacksonville director, working with Jacksonville talent and shooting in Jacksonville. He’s known for his music videos and slasher type films. This film is less straightforward, more of a psychological thriller with slasher elements.
The crowd that came out was a mixed one both in dress and attitude: Bikers in evening wear, hipsters with skinny jeans and suspenders, women in full length red-carpet worthy gowns and sequins, a teen in a Harry Potter t-shirt, a few goth horror followers, ripped jeans and high heels, affable good ole’ boys in cowboy hats and boots, men in sharp black suits, men in colorful sport coats, men in dad jeans and golf shirts, and a mix of styles and people from glam to Florida casual.
Out in the reception area, folks snapped selfies for social media, a spotlight hit a cardboard cutout, projecting a shadow of a man wielding a sledgehammer. Written in blood on a splattered white sheet were the words “Who is Robert Partridge?” Even the short “red carpet” in front of the Hicks Auditorium entrance was actually white felt marked by bloody footprints and spatters.
I don’t really want to summarize I am Going to Kill Someone This Friday because it’s the kind of movie that’s best seen with no definite plot points known, especially since a lot of it could be open to interpretation. Sometimes it’s difficult to pin down what’s real, but that’s part of the artistry of the film. Just know that it’s psychological thriller, that the main character is a psychopath and a family man, and settle in for the ride. There’s enough depth there that I’d want to view the movie again.
The movie is intensely Jacksonville. I found myself sometimes squinting at backgrounds trying to determine cross streets. There’s striking local landmarks and Downtown skylines featured. The newspaper in the background shots was the Floridian Times Union, obvious a stand in for the real-life Florida Times Union.
Post-film, we settled in for questions, the stage filled with many members of the cast and crew.
Director Durden Godfrey, Taurean Royal (who also plays the oh-so smooth Mister Basilicus in the film), and Jared Rush (also a producer and also in the film) all share writing credit for the movie. Also up for q&a were the actors who played the Partridge family, psychopath Robert (Thomas Siedle), Georgette (Traci L. Newman) his dead-inside near-Stepford wife, and his son Bobby (Camson Alevy). Also on hand, William Bishop, director of photography/producer, and Doctor Jones who composed the score.
The mixed group of both actors and behind-the-scenes players made for some interesting Q&A. Thomas Siedle said that to play Robert he “took everything from therapy and turned it on its head” to play the psychopath, and he and actress Traci Newman even went out to dinner as their characters to research their roles. Godfrey thought the whole cast was exactly what they needed, except for an untrained dog they used for a scene or two. Even the goat, says Godfrey “was perfect.” And yes there was a goat, God rest his soul, and that goat was eaten later, though not by cast and crew. No goats or dogs were harmed in the making of the film–Godfrey made sure to stress that.
Godfrey and Bishop talked about the precise planning and shots in the film, with Godfrey saying “Nothing in this movie is an accident.”
“We want to take it outside of Jacksonville to show what can be done locally,” says Godfrey, and that they’re concentrating on building a fanbase so that they can distribute on their own terms later.