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  • Jordan D. Smith

Local Filmmaker Has Stories to Tell

When Lansing Fire Department firefighter Paul Evansen isn’t found aiming a fire hose on a house fire, he is usually found aiming a movie camera or director’s viewfinder. His most recent project, is a short film titled Around, Down, and Through that tells the story of Nick, a Marine veteran returning home after being wounded on the battlefield. According to Evansen, the true battle isn’t set in a far off country, but closer to home, “when Nick comes home...paralyzed from the waist down and the life he once had starts to crumble around him...even if the collapse is only in his head.”

That homefront may look familiar to Beacon readers as it was filmed in Portland. “We actually filmed at a home in Portland on Canal St as well as Conflux Brewery,” Evansen told the Beacon. The actors who brought Evansen’s vision to life hailed from Grand Rapids, Detroit, and as far as Atlanta, Georgia, and Los Angeles and, San Diego. “ It was an amazing experience,” said Evansen, “they were all incredible to work with. The crew was so professional and were definitely up for the task.

”I feel so fortunate to live here in Portland,” Evansen told the Beacon, “it’s amazing to me how many people came out of the woodwork to help. The VFW helped, Sandborn Realty played a part and numerous others contributed to make this possible.” Evansen, who originally hails from Columbus, OH moved to Portland after meeting his wife who is from Westphalia. The couple has three girls aged 7, 10, and 12. Early on, he worked as an on-call firefighter here in Portland before moving to work fulltime for the City of Lansing.

The story of Around, Down, and Through is not finished yet though. In order to finish the film, Evansen is in need of donors to financially support the post-production of the film. “In short post-production is...putting all the puzzle pieces together to make the film flow as it was intended,” said Evansen, “post involves adding music, sound, and overall polishing it up in order to the public.” Clark Camera Cinema out of Grand Rapids will do the work once funds are available.

It will take about $3000 to finish post-production of the short film which will then be ready to show in film festivals where Evansen says he has a very good chance of getting picked up by a cable network like Lifetime or Hallmark. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help raise the funds to finish this film. Donors can learn more about the project and see interviews with the cast on the fundraising page. “I believe we will get a major investor after we have completed post and submitted to film festivals,” said Evansen, “there are so many investors at festival waiting to find the film(s) they want to move on.” If that happens the short film will be further developed into a full-length feature film for TV. Evansen says the feature film will also be filmed in the Portland area.

Finishing Around, Down, and Through, is not the only project Evansen has in the works. Last year he began plans for a film festival to be held this summer in Portland called the Iron Bridge Film Festival to be held July 24th through 26th. The festival has already had submissions from across the country as well as Canada, Australia, Europe, and Africa. “It’s a great location and there are so many filmmakers in the area. We hope to bring in people from all over Michigan as well as people in the Portland area,” said Evansen. Tickets and more information is available at the Iron Bridge Film Festival website.

PHOTOS: Courtesy PK Moe Entertainment

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