The Shade Shepherd: Goshen native brings Hollywood production to Michiana
Inside a LaGrange real estate office, turned 1980s police station, Justin Riegsecker is learning how to play a rowdy character in hand-cuffs.
The crew laughed as the director and co-writer told Riegsecker he’d have to relax a little more as another character slams him against the counter.
“This is a totally new realm for me,” laughed Riegsecker, who works as a director at Lippert Components. “It’s a lot more physically demanding than you would expect.”
Riegsecker is one of dozens of locals who were cast in Shade Shepherd, an adventure feature film shot across Michiana.
Goshen-native Jordon Hodges wrote and produced the movie; he also serves at the lead actor.
“As a writer, you write what you know,” said Hodges. “I know this area, I know this type of language, how people sound.”
The film follows a pair of brothers, Pike and Jack, as the younger brother attempts to get his older brother out of legal trouble.
Hodges went to Northridge, IU South Bend and eventually moved to Hollywood. This is the second time he’s returned to his home state for a movie production.
He shot “Sand Castles” in Indiana, a movie that was released in 2014.
“Things are more fun to shoot here,” he said. “When I’m shooting with my friends and family and people that I love.”
Hodges is also the lead actor in “The Shade Shepherd.” He said he got his start in acting, but he continues to grow in his writing.
Part of his goal was to give back to the local community.
“Even though we’re a lower budget film, we’ve been able to inject the economy with money between rental cars and hotel rooms,” said producer Brett Baker.
They also used local restaurants for food and incorporated several local landmarks and businesses, like Lewis and Lambright Real Estate, that doubled as a police station.
The crew shot across several locations including in LaGrange, Shipshewana and Howe Military Academy. But it will likely be early 2019 before the movie will be released locally, according to Hodges.
“After the shooting wraps up, we’ll have 50 terabytes of footage,” said Baker. “Every single take will have to be downloaded and looked at and sound synced.”
Following that, the team will loosely assemble the film and continue through rough cuts until the final product. Baker said he will be alongside Hodges and Director Chris Faulisi one and a half years post-production and then even longer, once “Shade Shepherd” hits film festivals.
The crew is hoping to distribute the film to Amazon, iTunes and Netflix further in the future.
Faulisi led one scene in a LaGrange alleyway featuring WSBT 22’s Ed Ernstes. Ed played the role of a cowboy.
Faulisi said he’s used to juggling all the little decisions that go into film making, which can often change because of unforeseen circumstances.
“We’re such a low budget project if you storyboard something and [it] changes, you become really married to that,” said Faulisi. “I wanted it to be a little bit more of a fluid process for the actors. We think on the fly and we go quick and we see what we can create.”
Faulisi said he enjoyed shooting in a small town.
“On a set, you have to literally build everything,” he said. “Here, there’s already so much character to the locations you have to do a bit less.”
For more information on “The Shade Shepherd” visit their Facebook page.