In recent years, Lodians have seen a handful of movie stars in Lodi seek roles or seek locations to film potential projects.
Most notably, Will Smith was in the area a few years ago, scouting for his role as Dr. Omalu Bennett for the movie “Concussion.”
And in 2015, James Hong, an actor who has starred in several films with actors such as Ryan Reynolds, Kurt Russell and Harrison Ford, traveled to town to find investors for a horror movie he was planning. to produce.
The two actors made short stays in Lodi.
But an up-and-coming film production company plans to make its stay permanent and invites Central Valley filmmakers and patrons to an event aimed at creating a desire to make Lodi a center of entertainment.
Noble Story Co. will host a “meet and greet” at Oak Farm Vineyards, 23627 N. DeVries Road, August 10 at 5:30 p.m.
The company was established in March 2020 in Michigan, but has Lodi roots.
Co-founder and CEO Andrew Teravskis grew up in Lodi, the company’s cinematographer Hugh Litfin was born and raised here, and their small office and studio is located off Armstrong Road along off highway 99.
In the two years since its inception, the company already has six projects in the works, two of which may soon hit TV and theater screens.
“One of the important things for Noble Story Co. is that I feel like we reflect the values shared by many people in the Lodi community,” Teravskis said. “One of our guiding principles with our stories is that they celebrate what is good, true and beautiful.”
And the two projects about to come to fruition do just that, he said.
“The Heart Mender” is a World War II drama based on Andy Andrews’ best-selling true story novel about Nazi submarines patrolling the Gulf of Mexico, and “Endurance” tells the true story. of Cedric King, a retired US Army Master Sergeant, double amputee and marathon runner.
As the name suggests, Teravskis said Noble Story Co. wants to tell noble stories in a noble way.
“A lot of our stories hit on a level of deeply human and spiritual themes, like ‘The Heart Mender,'” he said. “This book is truly a story of forgiveness and how these two enemy forces – an American and a Nazi – learn the power of forgiveness, and I can’t think of a better situation than our current situation right now where people need to hear about the power of forgiveness.”
Litfin said “The Heart Mender” will most likely be Noble Story Co.’s first project “out of the gate.” It will be a limited series, and five of the six episodes have been written, he said.
Once the last episode is over, the company will start looking for directors and actors and start making the rounds.
However, “Endurance” has a good chance of being picked up by a major studio, as the company started buying the project last week.
The story will tell of Master Sgt. King, who stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan and lost both legs. Upon his return to the United States, King was in the process of having his legs replaced with prosthetics and he saw the news reports of the Boston Marathon bombing.
This event motivated him to run the marathon in 2014.
“What people don’t realize is how much work it takes to develop a story or a screenplay into a salable or marketable product,” Litfin said. “From there you have to wrap it up, and from there you have to (do a lot of other stuff) and you get to a point where you sign a contract that says this studio will actually fund the production of that one. -this.”
Noble Story Co. was started by the couple and company co-founder Adam Gregory wanting to expand their filmmaking capabilities.
Teravskis had been filming “high-end” corporate campaign material for several years, when Teravskis said he had hit the proverbial ceiling and didn’t think he could go any higher. They started asking where they could go next.
The duo brought in Litfin, who shoots corporate campaign material for Teravskis’ father, and they went to work on “The Wanderer” limited series.
“We decided to pursue what really excites us,” he said. “We thought, let’s tell stories that matter. And we set up a company and immediately made limited series. We learned a lot from that. There were good things and bad things. We said, let’s learn from both and develop the 2.0 iteration, and it became Noble Story Co.”
The series “The Wanderer” was filmed in 2019, and many scenes were shot throughout the Central Valley, including Lodi.
The show tells the story of a traveling salesman who sells jewelry to women across the country in 1958, but his beauty and unknown past hamper his career. Although Noble Story Co. has one of its offices in Lodi, this does not always mean that its projects will be filmed in the region.
“The Heart Mender” is set in a small town on the Alabama coast, and “Endurance” is set in Boston.
In an industry where many production companies flock to Vancouver or New Orleans to replace other cities, Teravskis and Litfin said they want to shoot in places where their projects take place.
“For ‘The Wanderer,’ we shot exclusively in Lodi,” Litfin said. “We shot at two or three locations in Lodi. We shot in Escalon, Modesto, Oakdale for five weeks. So depending on where the project will be best served will determine the location.
What the pair also hope will help the company’s first two projects get the green light is a recent signing with management company Zero Gravity.
While Zero Gravity primarily represents industry actors, writers and directors, it is also a full-service production company behind feature films and television series such as “Copshop” with Gerard Butler, “The Marksman ” with Liam Neeson and “Ozark” with Jason Bateman.
“We think family and faith are important,” Teravskis said. “All of those things that reflect the community that we live in. I think there’s a lot of people in the United States who still fell that way and need healthy content.”