(last updated December 1, 2004)
A heated argument... a hasty decision... a barren landscape.
Now all Val wants is to get home.
But she’s in for more than she bargained for.
A Neo-Noir North Dakota Thriller
Written, Produced and Directed by
Val wants to get home.
Tasha, Kevin, and Mandi want to get better acquainted.
Tiffi wants to celebrate what she thinks is a new career.
They’re all about to get some disturbing surprises...
STATUS: Local and regional distribution phase
National Film Festival Phase
(shot June-July-August and edited August-September-October, 2003)
Cut number 1 (101 min.) completed October 6
Cut number 2 (99 min.) completed October 18
Cut number 3 (98 min.) completed October 26
Cut number 4 (98 min.) completed October 27
Forx Film Festival
Saturday November 22, 2003
Special Limited Theatrical Engagement
November 28-December 3, 2003
Regional video release (DVD and VHS)
Feature (plus Trailer) screenings at three venues:
-- Los Angeles, March 5, 2004
(10 pm, Laemmle Fairfax Theatre)
-- New York City, April 27, 2004
(approx. 10:15 pm, Village East Cinemas)
-- Las Vegas, July 21, 2004
(12 noon, Brenden Theatres multiplex at Palms Resort)
Music Video selected for screening at the
in Greenwich Village, New York City, April 24, 2004
Prevue Trailer selected for screening at the
Brooklyn, NY, July 25, 2004
Feature selected to screen three times at the
Minneapolis, MN, October 18 & 19, 2004
(1 pm and 4 pm Monday, and 1 pm Tuesday, Excelsior Dock Theatre)
FESTIVAL NOMINATION: Best Screenplay
A woman stranded at a rural highway rest stop soon finds unexpected dangers as she attempts to get home, while her officemates try to learn what happened to her in this neo-noir thriller.
Dark Highways is a feature-length digital movie made entirely in North Dakota with local talent.
A total of 21 days of Principal Photography were spread out from June 29 through August 21, 2003.
Then, extra scenes were shot for a five-minute music video with “Sons of Poseidon,” the Fargo heavy-metal band whose music is featured prominently on the soundtrack. A minute-and-a-half excerpt from an early cut of the video is available in low-resolution RealPlayer format here (554 Kb). Two final versions of the video (a Director’s Cut and a Band’s Cut) were prepared. These were selected for a Saturday evening screening at the 4th annual “Arlene’s Grocery Picture Show” film festival held April 23-26, 2004 in a popular bar on New York City’s lower East Side. Additional original music on the feature’s soundtrack is by Grand Forks rock band “Whisky Sam.”
The entire feature was edited during the last half of September and the first weekend of October, with revisions made over the following few weekends. During this same period, Jacobs was working on the screenplay for his next production, Miss Mystic, tailoring the leading characters to co-star actresses Nicole Nelson (of Dark Highways) and Lee Barnum. Sharon Reinowski of Dark Highways also appears in Miss Mystic, which was shot in spring of 2004, edited over the summer, and premiered that fall.
Well-received by those who saw it during one of its festival screenings or the Empire Arts Center theatrical run, Dark Highways is currently available for sale on at the Empire’s gift shop and at Budget Music and Video in Grand Forks. The movie is for rent at local Blockbuster Video stores in Grand Forks on both VHS and DVD. In Fargo it is carried by Take 2 Video and in Mayville it is carried by Videos Plus for rent on DVD only. Both the tapes and DVDs include the two different music videos for the timely and thoughtful Sons of Poseidon song “Success Through Violence.”
ITN Distribution has contracted to represent Dark Highways, as well as The Threat of the Mummy and Vengeance of the Sorceress, for one year. They are promoting it at the 2004 Cannes film market, the AFM (American Film Market), and NATPE (National Association of Television Production Executives), attempting to sell it world wide.
After a violent argument on the way home from a weekend at the lake with her boyfriend Wade, Val stomps out of the car at a rest stop. She is stunned, however, when Wade decides to drive off without her, leaving her stranded ten miles from town. Val starts to walk home, but soon takes refuge in an abandoned car parked by the highway and falls asleep. When she awakens, she discovers she is almost 300 miles from home, as the car’s owner had merely gone to refill his gas tank. While her friends wonder what happened to her, Val convinces her new traveling companion Dustin to take her back. Car trouble forces them to set out on foot along the lonely back roads. They wander into a remote farm building, not realizing it is a clandestine rendezvous point for a regional crime kingpin, and both are taken prisoner.
Meanwhile, Val’s officemates Tasha, Mandi, and Kevin, discuss her possible fate over drinks at their favorite bar. Kevin is especially concerned with Val’s safety, having known Wade previously. At the bar, they witness a noisy confrontation when the bartender cards a teenage girl, a girl whose unsavory new boyfriend has been taking advantage of her ambitions and surreptitiously selling risqué photos of her to an internet site.
CAST in order of appearance
WADE (smooth, arrogant, mercenary) Justin Guzman
TASHA (flirty and forward, but caring) Sarah Piersol
TIFFI (internet cutie Wade notices online) Nicole Nelson
INTERNET HOT GUY ( a .jpg Tasha notices) Justin Fatz
VALERIE (bitchy, tough, self-centered) CeAnne Reese
MANDI (serious and thoughtful) Sharon Reinowski
KEVIN (solid, suppressed, enigmatic) Jeff Nichol
DUSTIN (genial, amenable flunky) Mike Stromenger
BARMAID (skeptical but patient) Jenny Morris
WOMAN AT BAR (prefers to sit alone) Marjorie Morris
R.J. (petty thief, a bit dense) Luke Davis
WALLY (Wade’s slimier younger brother) Shilo Morlang
LAYLA (Wally’s funloving girlfriend) Jessica Turmo
ROSIE (Wally’s other funloving girlfriend) Rachel Klatt
MARYJO (precocious, defiant, ambitious teen) Nicole Nelson
BOBBY (Maryjo’s sleazy new boyfriend) J.D. Fraase
MARK (taciturn, non-nonsense bartender) Mark Landa
NICK (Maryjo’s exasperated uncle) Christopher P. Jacobs
CARTER (energetic regional rock star) Carter Evenson
JOHNNY (rock band roadie) Garrett Foltz
ALEX MONTANA (intimidating crime kingpin) Paul Kelly
3-D PRODUCTION STILL! (Scene 24)
FRAME GRABS from video footage (Coming soon)
POSTERS (Poster gallery, including other local movies)
TEASERS AND TRAILERS (All in RealPlayer format)
PREPRODUCTION TEASER (:32) -- 853 Kb
TV SPOT 1 (:33) -- 1.7 Mb
TV SPOT 2 (:33) -- 1.0 MB
TEASER 2 (1:03) -- 3.6 Mb
TRAILER 1 (1:42) -- 2.9 Mb
TRAILER 2 (2:19) -- 3.8 Mb
(with stereo sound!)
TRAILER 3 (2:41) -- 4.3 Mb
MUSIC VIDEO excerpt (1:29) – 554 Kb
OTHER REGIONAL MOVIES made on digital video