Arlington area filmmaker Mike Kravinsky hones his craft on his second feature film, which stars Floyd, Virginia! And we get to see it as part of the Richmond International Film Festival.
Geographically Desirable is not Mike Kravinsky’s first filmmaking rodeo. It is, however, his second filmmaking rodeo.
After just about three decades of work with ABC News in Washington, he got a pretty sweet buyout deal in 2010. “Everything’s downsizing in journalism now,” he says (I laughed nervously and thought about things I could sell on Craigslist). So he looked at his departure from the news as a logical transition from doing something that had served him well and taught him much to doing something he’s always dreamed about.
“I’ve always wanted to make films–not just documentaries, but narrative films–so I just jumped into it with really not a whole lot of knowledge,” Mike laughs. Everything he says is like that–enthusiastic, filled with humor and energy, and genuinely humble.
His first foray into writing and directing a feature film gave him a lot of experiences to build upon. “I’m proud of The Nextnik, but there were things I learned. ” Things like taking extra time to really sit down and create full, developed characters (even the very minor ones), think through plot, and allowing space in the action for things to sink in for the audience. That’s big for Mike, pacing: “With a film you can really pause to create a moment between the actor and the audience. You don’t have to rush through the process.”
So with his newest baby, Geographically Desirable, focuses on characters, writing, and timing. Its very tagline (“Priorities, TV news, sleep.”) speaks to Mike’s skills in the latter, in that I, for one, was intrigued.
The premise is that Nicole, a night-shift news-worker played by Blair Bowers, lives to work. Her uncle leaves her a house in Floyd, Virginia. Why, that’s in our state! We know about Floyd! We know how charming it is! And we also know it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, so we can understand what a culture shock it would be to go from big-city fast-pace to a place where everyone hugs you.
And everyone from Floyd truly does hug Nicole. Out of 400 or so residents in the town proper, close to 200 were extras in the film. Mike received tremendous support from the town, which he found by Googling “small artsy town in Virginia.” His budget ($90,000) wouldn’t let him move the whole operation to Texas, his original location vision, but on his first visit to Floyd, he fell deeply in love.
Geographically Desirable has made appearances at festivals in New York, Florida, and DC, but Richmonders get the next shot. Meet Mike, Blair Bowers (who’s flying in from L.A. for the occasion), and see the film itself at the Richmond International Film Festival next month.