OCEANFRONT — Eyes of the Roshi, an independent film shot this past year in Virginia Beach and Knotts Island, N.C., is nearing completion, and a screening may be in the works for Virginia Beach within the next six months.
“We’ve got a tight film,” said Ethan Marten, an actor and producer who runs Light Age Films, during an interview on Thursday, Feb. 11, at his home at the Oceanfront.
“It should be ready for exhibition by the end of March,” he said, meaning the action drama would be shown to those who might acquired and distribute it.
The films stars Marten, Eric Roberts, and Adam Nguyen, a local martial arts and yoga master. A number of locals from the Beach and North Carolina were among the crew, including Sarahbeth Yamiolkowski of Knotts Island, who sat in on the interview this month. She served as unit production manager for the film.
Marten said he hopes the relationship with Roberts will continue for future projects. He also said he hopes the project will lead to additional pictures shot in the city and North Carolina, noting the support from the community and governments.
“The city has been extremely supportive,” Marten said.
So has the administration of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, he added.
“He understands the benefits of what I feel is a clean industry,” Marten said. “It doesn’t create pollution. It attracts other industry. …
“We hope this gives us more opportunities to do more films right in our part of Virginia,” he added.
Marten shared a rough cut of the film with The Independent News. Marten and Yamiolkowski said locals will note a number of familiar sites – an Oceanfront motel, farmland in the rural area, the barn at Cedar Hall Farms in Pungo, a pier in Knotts Island and an abundance of Bonney Bright trucks.
There’s even a character named after Bonney Bright himself.
“The scouting lent itself to a lot of things,” Marten said.
Copies of this newspaper even adorn a motel wall in one scene and – in a moment that mirrors real life, if only via this background detail – a counter rack on the end of a counter at Monk’s Place in Creeds.
“From the moment I first saw Monk’s, I said it had to be in the film,” Marten sad.
Marten credited locals with helping the film become a reality, especially Mari Mann of Knotts Island, who served as associate producer and worked closely with Nguyen.
He also said Nguyen was key to the film. Nguyen is the center of the story, a protagonist who reluctantly fights to defend himself and friends from some not very nice people.
“He said we could do it here,” Marten said. “He was a driving force. He was the roshi. His real life character as a teacher and a man of peace comes through.”
The trailer and other information on the production can be found via the film’s Facebook page.
© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC