Florida Filmmaker capitalizes on real life for reel life in psycho thriller

On the set of the film 'I Am Going to Kill Someone This Friday'; used with permission.
On the set of the film ‘I Am Going to Kill Someone This Friday’; used with permission.

If you’re a filmmaker about to wrap a project, and a real life event perfect for your shoot drops in your lap, what’s not to like? That’s what happened with Durden Godfrey’s latest work, ‘I Am Going To Kill Someone This Friday.’ 

The indie film will screen in 2018, and Godfrey is not only relishing shooting the final scenes, he’s already working on plans to get the film into the marketplace.

Based in Jacksonville, Godfrey is an asset many who live here may not even know about.

Godfrey has made films before, and his latest completed film drew a great deal of attention. The title of that film is ‘Never Go Back.’ The Internet Movie Database description of the film suggests both a physical journey and a psychological journey for the main characters, a father and son. Both head to the wilderness after losing the woman who was wife and mother to them. This film was accepted for juried festivals as far away as Toronto, Canada. Reviews have been very positive.

With his latest film, Godfrey’s characters are also involved in a psychological journey of sorts. With ‘I Am Going to Kill Someone This Friday,’ Godfrey set out to make a psychological thriller, but he didn’t stop with that. “I wanted to make a film about a psychopath,” he said.

How can a seemingly normal person like the new film’s main character Robert Partridge, complete with “normal” family and job, decide to kill someone on a particular day? Was he born a psycho killer, or did life events nudge him towards that end? We’ll have to wait for the film to divulge those answers.

Jacksonville is the base for the production, and within the film, there’s a well-known landmark as a motif. The Treaty Oak, multiple arms extending from a massive trunk, is located in one of the smallest parks in Jacksonville, Jesse Ball DuPont Park. The tree was saved by what is believed to be a story made up by a reporter who claimed the tree was a site where treaties were signed between American Indians and settlers. Whatever the truth may be, the tree is more than two centuries old and has stood as a silent witness to history.

In some ways, the tree is sort of like the main character Robert Partridge—neither is quite what they seem.

Godfrey managed to capitalize on a real life event for the film. The final shooting will take place near Treaty Oak, and some pivotal scenes in the film featuring the murderer and his victim will occur against the backdrop of a real life wedding. The bizarre nature of that scene holds so much promise artistically, with Durden saying this will be “pretty spectacular.”

The film is set to wrap on November 11, and once all that hard work is complete, more hard work will follow. Producing the film is but one part of a complex set of tasks.

There will be a screening in early 2018, and Godfrey said there will be a special private screening in an effort to attract potential investors. Efforts to set up a premiere are underway.

“Nothing matches the feeling of people in your city supporting your film—laughing and gasping at the right moments.” But there’s a catch—it’s “gratifying on every level except for paying the bills,” Godfrey said.

The film community in Jacksonville is no stranger to challenges. There is a film festival organization here, but many residents might not know about it because most media don’t give much attention to the festival or to the film community. The Jacksonville Film Festival website recounts the significance of the First Coast City in the development of the film industry in general. Who knew this city was once at the epicenter of a budding form of entertainment?

Fact is, we still are.

Indie filmmaking is, like other art forms, poised on the cusp of new opportunities. Technology enables aspiring creators to make a film now even if there’s not a million dollar budget.

It’s puzzling that for decades, city leaders in both government and private sectors haven’t recognized what an opportunity is before us. Jacksonville could easily become a destination for film-goers and indie filmmakers. With Hollywood turning out more scandals lately than successful commercial films, it’s quite possible our city could seize the opportunity here, much as Austin did for musicians who now flock there in the same manner they head to Nashville.

Godfrey’s latest film is, like so many other indie projects, in need of crowd funding. A Go Fund Me page has been set up, and hopefully other media will take note and help get the word out.

Despite the challenges and rigors of indie filmmaking, Godfrey is resilient. Like all artists, he has hope. He pointed to the early 2000s as a “golden age for indie film.” Perhaps there’ll be another one now that technology permits almost anyone with a suitable camera, networking abilities, and script to create films.

“It’s a great time to be a filmmaker,” Godfrey said.

Follow progress on the film and pending premiere at I Am Going to Kill Someone This Friday on Facebook. Indie Art South will continue to follow progress on the film and its premiere, so stay tuned for future articles.

(Filed by Kay B. Day/Oct. 30, 2017)

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