'All Gone Wrong' spotlights local talent, interest in filmmaking in St. Louis
There is a rich filmmaking industry in the St. Louis region, but brain drain results in a loss of creative talent to coastal cities like Los Angeles or New York. However, many film writers and directors are embracing Missouri as a locale rich with architectural diversity, a burgeoning talent pool, affordable commodities and a unique brand of "Midwest nice."
Writer and film director Josh Guffey has worked in numerous cities associated with film production. A Midwestern native from Bettendorf, Iowa, Guffey set out to start his filmmaking career after graduating from the University of Iowa.
When it came time to choose a location for his debut feature film, he ignored the typical coastal cities and instead chose St. Louis to produce “All Gone Wrong.”
“I've lived in different places, and my commercial video job has taken me to places like New York … but St. Louis is just … there's nothing like it,” Guffey said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “I just find [St. Louis] to be an incredibly rich, really compelling place to live. And the people I've worked with here have become the closest friends I have.”
The crime thriller stars Jake Kaufman as Chris Halvorsen, a detective looking to bring down a drug kingpin after a sting operation gone awry. Along with Anthony Haron, played by St. Louis native Antonio St. James, Chris goes head-to-head with Lamont Hughes — played by veteran actor Tony Todd, best known from the horror classic “Candyman.”
Guffey said: “[Todd knew] everybody's part back to front. I can ask him to start a scene at any spot. … So as a first-time director, that was an amazing experience to immediately feel comfortable having his ability on set.”
Along with local backdrops and on-screen talent, the crew of “All Gone Wrong” was made up of St. Louisans in the television and film industry. The genuine support from fellow St. Louisans also helped make “All Gone Wrong” possible.
“[In Los Angeles] nobody’s impressed that you’re shooting a movie. The neighbors aren’t going to come out and watch your film and be all happy for you,” Guffey said. “One of the key locations [in ‘All Gone Wrong’], the people who own that place, were turning into an Airbnb. I told them to stop and keep it kind of run-down so we could use it and just walk right in and film. And then that couple who owned it became investors in the movie.”
“This is only possible in a place that is still fascinated by an artistic process,” he continued. “What I've also found is the people who are doing [filmmaking] here in town are as good as anybody I've ever worked with, if not better. They just have a hunger, and they scrap, and it's beautiful to see.”
“All Gone Wrong” hits video streaming sites Jan. 27.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to email@example.com.