Don’t look now, but the ultimate battle for good and evil has just taken place in Ojai. The good news is, we’re still here. Keep your fingers crossed.
This according to Ojai filmmaker Ryan A. Nichols, whose short feature film Loved Ones was recently completed and will soon be making the rounds at film festivals across the U.S.
Nichols, a Camarillo native, graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in commercial and narrative film studies from the former Brooks Film Institute. After receiving his degree, he moved to Boston and did editing for automotive and other types of commercials. In 2012, he moved to Ojai and continued his career editing documentaries.
Describing the film as a supernatural thriller, Nichols teamed up with noted Ojai writer Peter Bellwood and producer Sam Gall to hammer out his story idea. Bellwood is best known for the cult classic film Highlander.
“It’s a good-versus-evil story,” said Nichols. “More complicated, it’s kind of a look at how fear plays such a big role in the divisiveness of humanity.”
Launched originally as a short film, Nichols has now turned his attention to the smaller screen. “The thinking right now is that we’d do best on a streaming platform where it would be more of a limited series, anywhere from five to eight episodes.”
Loved Ones is about a recently widowed outlier who is confronted by the ultimate evil at a time when humanity and the world are facing a chaotic end. To restore balance, she must accept a theory that says she is the only living person who can defeat the evil force.
And you thought Ojai was just for farmers, artists and movie stars. In fact, Nichols picked the town not only because he knew the area well, but because it represented the tone for a world that had recently gone through a great trauma.
“We wanted this kind of very cool mountain/city-type backdrop,” he explained. “We wanted the feeling of being away from civilization. We really didn’t have the resources to go that far off, so from a production standpoint, Ojai was able to do that for us.”
A private screening for cast, crew, family, friends and IndieGoGo backers is planned for this weekend, but Nichols is hopeful that he’ll eventually be able to release this to the public. “I think there’s definitely a chance for a public viewing,” he stated. “Now that we’re marketing ourselves in the episodic category, we have to maintain a bit of premiere status for our festival run. But as soon as we’re done with that, the idea is to open it up to the public and try to show it to as many people as possible.”
Ojai. End of the world. One woman can save us. Who knew this could happen in our neck of the woods? Filmmaker Nichols is willing to bet his career that you’ll want to join in the battle. You may have to wait a little longer to see it, Ventura County, but it’s coming. As Nichols has hinted, those cumulus clouds over Topa Topa may not just be thunderheads.
For more information on Loved Ones, visit www.lovedonesfilm.com.