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ASHLAND, OR. – Joma Films has completed production on their fifth feature film ABOVE THE TREES, an original crime drama written & directed by Gary Lundgren and produced by Luis Rodriguez and Annie Lundgren. The film stars Danielle Kelly, Luis Rodriguez, Julian Remulla, Danforth Comins, and Barret O’Brien.
The story follows a murder in small-town Oregon after a local boxer is charged. A mosaic of people connected to the crime become intertwined by fate as the criminal trial unfolds in Jackson County.
"I have a real desire to work closely and organically with some of my talented friends in Oregon", Lundgren said. "So I wrote these characters for actors I know and love."
Above the Trees: Joma Films; Gustavo Rojas (Luis Rodriguez) and Gabriel de León (Julian Remulla)
Actor and Producer Luis Rodriguez plays Gustavo Rojas who owns the local boxing gym. "Playing this role was challenging and captivating – the kind of character I’ve always wanted to portray on screen", Rodriguez said. "On the production side, I was so thankful for the help and support we received from the community."
"Having great locations was critical and we were lucky to have partners who gave us the freedom to come and go as necessary," Lundgren added. "It allowed our actual work to dictate the production choices – not just the script and schedule."
The movie was written and developed during the pandemic and filmed chronologically across the Rogue Valley over many months in Southern Oregon. "COVID 19 shut us down more than once," Lundgren said. "Overall, the process was less predictable – but so exhilarating and satisfying. Our shoot days were often short, and they were spread out over the seasons. I can’t wait for people to see it."
Danielle Kelly plays Coral Quinn – a DJ in town who’s caught between the defendant and victim. Kelly said, "It was so exciting and refreshing to see Joma cast the entire movie locally. It’s the first time they’ve done this, and it really shows how our little acting community can accomplish big things."
Above the Trees: Joma Films; Coral Quinn (Danielle Kelly)
Barret O’Brien plays Charles Johnson – a Lithia Park busking poet who finds himself inexplicably drawn into the investigation and trial. O’Brien said, "The trust and playfulness on set everyday were true gifts. It showed how inquisitive communication between collaborators can help produce compelling cinema."
Above the Trees: Joma Films; Charles Johnson (Barret O’Brien)
"Often indies are shot quickly in a high stress environment," Lundgren said. "On this one, I wanted us to be nimbler and more patient. The goal was to collaborate on art together – with a small footprint and without your typical deadlines and restrictions."
The cast also includes stage and screen favorites Erica Sullivan, Chris Butler, Mark Schneider and Marlyn Mason.
Above the Trees: Joma Films; Eli (Chris Butler) and Charles (Barret O’Brien)
Danforth Comins plays BILLY – a northwest drifter who’s struggling to pull his life together and running out of time. "This was an actor’s dream job," Comins said. "To play a complicated character with a director you trust is simply a nonpareil acting experience."
Above the Trees: Joma Films; Billy (Danforth Comins)
Joma's PHOENIX, OREGON has an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was the #1 movie in America for three weeks in 2020 when producers shared streaming profits with shuttered cinemas. Producer Annie Lundgren said, "We’ve learned so much on our other films, that we’ll continue to think outside the box and keep our distribution options open." ABOVE THE TREES will begin screening in 2023.
Joma Films is an indie studio in Ashland, Oregon. Credits include CALVIN MARSHALL (starring Steve Zahn and Alex Frost), REDWOOD HIGHWAY (starring Shirley Knight and Tom Skerritt), BLACK ROAD (starring Sam Daly, Michelle Lombardo and Simon Templeton), PHOENIX, OREGON (starring James Le Gros, Jesse Borrego and Lisa Edelstein) and ABOVE THE TREES.
For press inquiries or more information, please contact Between Buildings LLC and Joma Films at firstname.lastname@example.org. Websites: www.jomafilms.com www.garylundgrenfilm.com