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Local Filmmaker Premiers “Union Furnace” in Columbus

Hope Madden Hope Madden Local Filmmaker Premiers “Union Furnace” in Columbus
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Much ado has been made about bringing Hollywood to Columbus, but it turns out, we’ve had a little slice of Tinsel Town right in Grandview Heights all along.

Columbus native Nicholas Bushman is about to release his second feature film, with a third in the can and a fourth in development. Though he splits his time between CBUS and LA, he filmed his first two pictures in Central Ohio and will premiere the latest completion – the creepy thriller Union Furnace – at the Gateway Film Center this Thursday, 7/16, at midnight.

Bushman calls the film “white trash gaillo.” A petty thief from a small town Ohio gets involved in an underground, high stakes, mask-wearing game of life and death – sounds wonderfully weird. And speaking of wonderful and weird, the film co-stars the great character actor Keith David (Platoon, The Thing).

Is he the coolest person in the world?

According to his co-star, Columbus native Mike Dwyer, pretty much.

“He’s pretty cool,” he says. “It was the dead of winter in a warehouse with no heat. It was so cold in there. He never complained. He was singing.”

“He loves to sing,” says Bushman. “He’d sing quite often. You knew he was happy when he was singing Nat King Cole on the set.”

Dwyer and Bushman have worked together on all four films, plus the countless shorts they’ve made together since their days at Grandview Heights Middle School.

“Nick and I have known each other for 20 years,” Dwyer says. “We grew up in Grandview.”

Bushman says, “We made our first film in 2005, but the three of us (Dwyer, Bushman and Gayle Morrison, Bushman’s mother and a partner in their production company Broadview Features Development) have been together since 2010.”

Bushman’s feature career got started when he convinced semi-retired actor Rick Rossovich (Top Gun, Roxanne) to star in the filmmaker’s first full length effort, Sandbar.

“He was really hard to get,” Bushman remembers. “I got the script to him and he really loved it, but he was semi-retired. He said, ‘I really love it, I wish I could do it, it’s such a great role, but I’m living in Stockholm.’ And then, I just flew out to Stockholm, spent like three days with him and convinced him to do it. We shot that around here, part of it in Grandview.”

The group tends to use a mixed set of local crew and actors as well as those they bring in from LA and elsewhere. They see a lot of opportunities in filming locally, including the chance to keep budgets low, but there are other advantages as well.

“The support from the people is quite wild,” says Dwyer. “They just want to come out and help. The support here is amazing.”

The obstacle has been finding financing, and now, finding time.

“It took so long to get Sandbar made,” Bushman says. “And then Furnace and Stranger got shot the same year, back to back. We shot Furnace in January/February and Stranger in October because the money just came together. And then we’re shooting our next one toward the end of the year.”

Union Furnace screens several times in Columbus this weekend, coinciding with its release to Vimeo on Demand.

Full screening schedule:

  • Thursday, 7/16, at midnight at Gateway Film Center
  • Friday, 7/17, on Vimeo on Demand
  • Friday, 7/17, at 8PM at Lennox AMC (free screening)
  • Saturday, 7/18, at a 1:30 matinee at Gateway Film Center

To order Union Furnace on Vimeo on Demand: www.unionfurnacemovie.com.

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to weekly horror movie podcasts on FRIGHT CLUB.

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