Winner of Best Film, the Distance Award (audience voted), and Best Supporting Actor for Seth Gore at the Eastern NC Film Festival, writer/director Michael Howard's Where We're Meant to Be is a nearly two hour journey through life's little moments, life's big moments, our life choices and the ways in which our lives intersect, no small task, indeed, for a film shot in 23 days on a $25,000 budget utilizing a largely North Carolina-based cast and crew with a few SAG actors from out of state tossed in for good measure.
Filmed entirely in North Carolina, Where We're Meant to Be is pretty much the exact type of film fans of festival indies long to see when they pile in to the local film festival hoping to discover some indie gem.
Where We're Meant to be is an indie gem.
The film had a sold out premiere at the Vail Film Festival and continues on its festival run, a run that could likely continue for awhile given the film's emotionally honest story and performances along with an uncommon intelligence that permeates through every digital cell of the film.
Where We're Meant to Be benefits greatly from a pretty remarkable soundtrack that includes a variety of indie musicians including Greg Laswell, a well known musician who has contributed to a number of television shows including Grey's Anatomy, True Blood, Parenthood and others.
Shot on digital 4k by D.P. Chris Medico, Where We're Meant to Be's lensing avoids the hyper brightness so often found in indie projects trying to effectively utilize higher end digital cameras. Medico, who is just starting to branch out after several short films, clearly knows his way around the camera and does top notch work here.
Michael Andreas, who has worked on ABC's Lost and Hellboy along with serving as music editor on such films as Hellboy, Ballistics: Ecks vs. Sever (We'll forgive him for this one) and the wonderful Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, edits the film's sound and takes one of the most vulnerable areas for an indie project and turns it into a strength.
The film's ensemble cast is uniformly strong, though special kudos should be given to the already mentioned Seth Gore along with the wonderful Tracey Coppedge, a very strong Blayne Weaver and a spot on Tate Hanyok among others.
Perfectly utilizing its North Carolina setting, Where We're Meant to Be is an effective, entertaining and involving indie drama that goes places not quite expected but without ever feeling gimmicky. Behind a strong ensemble cast, Howard's emotionally honest and authentic story and a tremendous production crew, this is a film you'll want to catch whether at a film festival in your town or when it ends up in distribution.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic