Road to nowhere
Local musicians come together for Nowhere Nevada, a film written, produced and about Northern Nevada
“It’s a rock ’n’ roll movie,” Nick Ramirez says as if that’s the only description needed.
He’s talking about the film Nowhere Nevada, described by its website, www.nowherenevada.com, as “a drug-fueled, embittered journey through the gritty streets of underground Nevada where recently fired exotic dancer Christy and street-hustler T.J. find themselves on the run from drug dealers, plunge rockers, alien integration authorities and more! … A dreamscape-laden examination of the frailty of existence, the happenstance of inherited bedfellows, and last ditch efforts of self-discovery/validation.”
What could be more rock ’n’ roll than that? The movie centers on subcultures surrounding the Northern Nevada music scene. The movie is predominately about music, even though the plot deals more with the lives of the two main characters and the people and environments unique to the Northern Nevada area they interact with. Music is the heart and soul of the film.
The story starts long before the production of this movie began with a woman entrenched in the Northern Nevada underground music scene, Marianne Psota. Psota, a long time promoter of local bands, wrote the original script for Nowhere Nevada. Ramirez, the director of audio, soundtrack and script for the production, met Psota while promoting bands in the ’90s and the two were partners until she passed away in May 2004.
“She first started writing it when she worked in a little audio shop on Ralston Street,” remembers Ramirez. “We’d sit in bed and she’d ask, ‘Did you read it? What do you think?’ ‘Yeah, I like it, but wouldn’t it be cool if this happened here?’” he says. “I figured a couple more rewrites, and Mary would have her script, and then we could go shop it around.”
Psota finished two drafts of the script, working on it while she was sick, before she died. Ramirez founded Marianarchy Productions in her honor and puts on the musical event Marianarchy, a fundraiser featuring local bands that raise money for local families or organizations in need. Ramirez carried around the script for years before approaching a friend, David Richards, a once-a-week delivery driver for the RN&R, now the director of Nowhere Nevada, about turning it into a film.
“When Mary passed, I promised I would turn this into a movie,” says Ramirez. “You never want to commit yourself emotionally to it when it still can be disappointing and turn around and not happen at all. Once we started day one of filming I was like this is for real, it’s really happening. … It’s cathartic. On the emotional side, it brings up dormant emotions. Thinking about how the movie and music and everything is going to come together—I hope that they do Mary proud.”
As musical director, Ramirez has a pool of around 30 bands—all of them local—that will somehow be involved in the film. The list includes Gunshot Licker, Kate Cotter, The Atomiks, Phat Couch, Candyshoppe, Los Pistoleros and The Shames. The soundtrack will most likely be a double disc featuring music from these bands and others and, some of the bands and musicians will actually show up in cameos or be featured in the production.
“A lot of this stuff is music that Marianne loved and nurtured,” says Ramirez. “And lots of new stuff—she was all about that, too, always wanting to hear new bands she’d never heard of.”
Some of the bands will be playing at Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor on Saturday, Oct. 27, to help raise money to pay for postproduction, distribution and festivals. The event starts at 2 p.m. and goes on into the night—the organizers are calling it a circus. It will include a pet adoption van from the Humane Society, a dunk tank, an ass grabbing booth—apparently it goes both ways—a raffle with prizes including donated gift certificates, an art auction, food trucks, a silent auction, and live music from Los Pistoleros, Hella A Capella, Candyshoppe and more.
The money raised from the fundraiser will be used for media kits and festival submittals. The ideal goal is to find a proper distributor that can carry the film nationally and internationally—and show the rest of the world a slice of Northern Nevada.
Richards started working on the script earlier this year, and the movie went into production in June. Such a short turnaround time could have been problematic for anyone trying to put together such a big production. However, community support has been overwhelming. Everyone involved in the film has talks about how many people came out to back this endeavor.
“Everywhere we went, people offered help,” says Brian Sutherland, the film’s executive producer. “We didn’t even have to ask them—just nothing but an outpouring of fellow Northern Nevada recognition.”
The production received a donation from Sani-Hut for a portable toilet to blow up for one scene in the movie, and Bill Woody has donated studio time and access to equipment at the Musicians Rehearsal Center, among other numerous donations of goods and time.
Juli Green of Nevada Casting played a huge part in recruiting local talent. In the process, the crew found that they didn’t need to bring in anyone from outside the community. They found plenty of local talent in Northern Nevada—musicians, actors, directors. On top of that, the entire movie is shot in the area.
“We’ve almost gotten to the point where we’re not pitching the movie anymore, we’re pitching Northern Nevada,” says Sutherland. “We have our own thing going on here.”
Green has worked on many films made in the area for the last 10 years and says that this is the one of the projects she is most proud of and excited about.
“The vibe, the feel, the story, the commitment has just been amazing,” Green says. “I don’t know if it’s Marianne’s story, but the people were so in love with Marianne. Everybody that you talk to talks about their commitment to Marianne and Nick and how much they love them. It’s a blessed project. It’s the love that everybody is putting into this.”
“Everybody is giving 110 percent,” says Ramirez. “The people who knew Mary are doing this out of love, and you can tell. This is the best art project I’ve ever been a part of.”
It seems only right that all the energy, effort and love that Psota put into this community would be given back to a project that promotes all of the things that she worked on in her life to highlight. The fact that she made such a huge impact is shown in the massive amount of support and coming together of people to make this movie a reality.