Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s been a big year for Lunacy, and we’re incredibly thankful for everyone who helped make that possible. That includes all of you who so warmly embraced Rust Creek, which was certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and stands at #104 on their top movies of 2019.

Careful viewers know that Rust Creek is also a Thanksgiving movie! So in honor of feast week, today’s blog post is all about the film’s origins and how it ties in to the spirit of the Thanksgiving season.

In December of 1988, Lunacy’s Stu Pollard got lost in a midnight snowstorm in the hills of western Maryland. It was only after hitting the storm he realized he had failed to tell anyone he had headed out on an impromptu road trip. For the first time in his life, he thought his goose might be cooked. (Hear him tell the full story here).

Spoiler alert: Stu survived. 

But that experience stuck with him, and he realized that it is a pretty universal experience:

That moment, that rite of passage in every young person’s life, where you go from feeling invulnerable, to realizing that you might be taking your last few breaths…The moment you realize you might not necessarily be the star of your own movie, you might be an expendable day player and somebody else’s.  —Stu Pollard

20 years later, that memory resurfaced as Stu and writer Julie Lipson were brainstorming ideas for a script to collaborate on. Stu told Julie about his experience, and she was immediately drawn to the idea of a survival story centered on an invincible young person confronting their own mortality for the first time.

It was really exciting to set the whole script outside in the woods, in an environment that I could actually play with and make those environmental cues part of the movie and part of her arc. Because I always thought of Sawyer as somebody who is very invested in the material world.  —Julie Lipson

That’s how Rust Creek was born in  2010, when Julie started writing the screenplay about an ambitious college senior who skips Thanksgiving with her family to embark on a road trip for a promising job interview.

Six years later, the project began filming in Kentucky on Thanksgiving weekend.

Starring Hermione Corfield and directed by Jen McGowan, Rust Creek is a survival thriller. But below the surface, it explores how challenging circumstances can help us recognize our vulnerabilities and our strengths. Facing these obstacles also leads us to shift our life priorities.

It’s about Sawyer finding stillness and finding a sense of control. I think that’s really poignant. Living in the present and finding it now as opposed to constantly striving for the next, next, next, next.  —Hermione Corfield

Rust Creek is a Thanksgiving story in other ways as well. Most notably, it examines how we tend to get preoccupied with the future or the past — our ambitions or our regrets — often at the expense of appreciating what we have right in front of us.

The heart of the film is the connection formed between Corfield’s Sawyer and Jay Paulson’s reclusive meth maker Lowell. Meeting under the most chaotic of circumstances, they must trust one another to have any hope of survival.  

Lowell (Jay Paulson) and Sawyer (Hermione Corfield) in Rust Creek.

This Thanksgiving, your friends at Lunacy wish you the very best, and we hope you have a chance to take a moment to slow down and appreciate all the good things. 

And if your family needs a movie to enjoy at home (or wherever you may be), we hope you’ll check out Rust Creek. We’re hoping it will become a Thanksgiving tradition for some of you! For more info, including trailers and cast and crew, click here.

What are the moments that have brought you face to face with your limitations? What did you learn as a result of that challenge?