Takashi Doscher was preparing to propose to his wife when inspiration struck. “The concept of making a pledge or vow forced me to start thinking about things in a much longer timeframe than I was used to,” Doscher said. “How do relationships change and change the people in those relationships over time?”
Those questions, coupled with his experiences camping and hiking in the North Georgia mountains, would form the basis of his first feature film. “Still”, which Doscher describes as a thriller with the heart of a relationship drama, won the Georgia Film Award at the Atlanta Film Festival in April and was bought by distributor, The Orchard. From Jan. 11- 17 it will run during a limited release at the Plaza Theatre.
The indie film stars Madeline Brewer (Handmaid’s Tale) as Lily, a young woman who is ill and gets lost while hiking the Appalachian Trail. She collapses outside the home of Adam (Nick Blood) and Ella (Lydia Wilson). As she recovers, Lily discovers the couple is rather odd. They look young but everything around them is old. They live on a farm with no livestock or crops. Lily soon learns about a decades old secret that has ultimately has an impact on her own life.
“It definitely takes some narrative risks. I hope people appreciate a slightly different viewing experience than what they are used to,” Doscher said.
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The movie was filmed in Pine Mountain with a crew mostly from the metro area including local volunteers and student interns from Columbus State University. During that hot summer in the mountains industry veterans worked right alongside newbies who had never worked on a production before. “You had industry veterans become mentors and teachers while we were filming this movie and taking young people under their wings,” Doscher said. “The making of the movie is just as important as the story within the movie.”
Though he has since relocated to Los Angeles, Doscher, a native of Gwinnett County and graduate of Collins Hill High School credits Georgia with giving him a strong foundation in film.
His first film, “A Fighting Chance”, was a 2010 documentary about Kyle Maynard, one of Doscher’s former classmates from Collins Hill High who was born without arms or legs but became a successful wrestler. At the time, they were a bunch of kids running around with a camera and no money, Doscher said, but they got the film completed and sold it to ESPN. Doscher was only 22. “I got a lot of incredible opportunities from that to immediately go into the director’s chair. I was extremely grateful for that but probably not entirely prepared for it. The Georgia film community embraced me,” Doscher said.
With “Still” as his first scripted film, Doscher said the experience was different than making a documentary. “Documentaries are like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle but you don’t know what it looks like and you have pieces that don’t belong. A scripted film for me is more like carving something out of marble. You know exactly what you want to make but one wrong move could knock that chunk off.”
Doscher’s second feature film -- a post-apocalyptic love story about a young woman who may be the only woman left on earth starring Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) -- was also filmed in Georgia and will premiere at a major festival in the spring.
Plans to move back to Georgia and continue making movies in the state are part of Doscher’s future, but for now he hopes audiences will appreciate the possibilities that indie films like “Still” have to offer.
“I hope this film is a small example of what is possible for the independent film community in Atlanta and in Georgia,” Doscher said. “I hope it continues to encourage people to support and invest in independent films.”