A handful of Webster University alumni, a camera and St. Louis Cardinals player Adam Wainwright were just a few of the things needed to make the new locally-shot indie film Proximity from Circa87 Productions.
The film is a dramedy starring all local actors and Wainwright in his first acting role. It was released in four Wehrenberg theaters over Labor Day weekend, including Chesterfield Galaxy 14, Mid-Rivers Cine 14, Ronnie’s and O’Fallon 15 Cine.
Multiple Webster alumni were involved in the production of the film, including Jessica Ambuehl, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in media communications in 2000 and a master’s degree in 2002. Ambuehl served in a few areas of Proximity, including behind the camera and in front of it. She said something that really excited her about Proximity was the collaboration of local talent.
“We see big productions being done in other cities, so when we can do something with this great quality and highlight both the talent not just in front of the camera but also behind it, it’s really a lot to celebrate and to look forward to,” Ambuehl said. “When I watch [the film], that’s what I see. It’s fun to watch, there’s a lot of great people in it, and that’s one of the things that warms my heart as an actor and as a producer, it’s just neat to see quality films shown from our area.”
From writer/director Dan Steadman, Proximity centers around 40-year-old Ella (Jackie Manker) caught in a love triangle with her ex (Adam Wainwright), an age-appropriate doctor her mother wants her to marry (Bill Finkbiner) and a younger man she is interested in (Cody Heuer).
“You follow the journey of what love looks like and if age really plays a part,” Ambuehl said.
James Reichmuth, who attended Webster as a film production major from 2013 to 2014, acts in a small role as a guy that takes Ella on a date.
“It was a really bad date,” Reichmuth said. “I showed up with a Pop-Tart and was like ‘listen, we’re not going to buy any appetizers because I brought you a Pop-Tart.’ I was like sleazy douchebag number three, essentially.”
Working on set with Wainwright was a fun time, Reichmuth said.
“He’s like the nicest dude,” Reichmuth said. “He’s super down-to-earth, super humble and a lot of fun to be around. He’s really funny; he’s got some jokes.”
Because there were multiple Webster alumni working on the film, Ambuehl said it was great to work together with people who are like-minded and came from the same place.
“It’s fun to know that some of our passions, love and talent were grown here, and that we have that commonality and that we are all coming together again to make something great and to share a story on film,” Ambuehl said. “It’s very rewarding.”
For college students, Ambuehl said her advice is to pursue your passions, do not give up and work hard because every little bit counts.
“You might not see the [reward] for your labor until a few years down the road, but every step of the way whether you’re making mistakes or doing great things, it’s all a learning process,” she said.
Reichmuth agrees. He said to always keep learning, even outside of the classroom.
“Get as much experience as you can. Talk to other filmmakers, go to screenings and talk to as many people as possible,” he said.
Limited edition DVDs of Proximity, signed by Adam Wainwright, will be released mid-September at circa87.com.