CHELAN – Director Ian Wood saw the beginnings of a film in an old street sign along the lonely orchard roads of Manson. The post read: Manson Boulevard and Manson Boulevard.
“I saw that as a strong symbol for a story idea – it’s absurd, it’s a contradiction,” Wood said. The Lynnwood, Wash., native found the sign 10 years ago while visiting friends in the area. “Mostly it was the landscape, and the feeling of being lost. It’s a surreal feeling.”
The movie he wrote from that experience premieres Saturday at the Ruby Theatre as a tribute to the locals who helped during the filming in Manson last summer. “The Loop” is about a man who gets lost driving around a deserted rural area where something feels … off. No matter which direction the man turns, he ends up at the same intersection.
Wood shot the movie in black and white with 16 mm film, a rarity in a field now dominated by digital. All of his previous films have been experimental art films, which is evident in “The Loop,” his first narrative. With only 25 lines of dialogue, the 28-minute film depends on rich visual storytelling.
The 30-year-old works in New Orleans as a freelance sound engineer for film producers. After years of letting the story simmer on the back burner, Wood organized a series of fundraisers and took a production crew of six guys to Manson for a monthlong film shoot last August.
Wood initially planned to debut the film in December, but postproduction took longer than expected. Wood painstakingly edited out any external sounds – lawn mowers, cars, kids – to create a surreal space. The color correction, cropping and technical issues of working with film slowed down the process.
“I’m happy it took this long because it’s going to be a better film,” Wood said. “I love that we’re premiering it out here in summertime. It feels like it was meant to be this way.”