I have to tell you, I adore Jon Hill. He’s handsome, funny and makes great movies. And he’s married to an exceptionally pretty and talented woman, Leigh Hill.
Years and years ago, I met his mother, Claren, who told me that I needed to write about her son.
I thought, “Yeah, yeah.”
Then I met him and I realized she was right. Mothers usually are, you know.
A few years ago, he took part in the 48 Hour Film Project in Atlanta. This is one of those crazy things where a bunch of directors sign up to do a short film. They pick a film genre out of a hat. Once they have that, they have to pick a writer and actors out of a pile of resumes. They get their crew together. Then they shoot a movie, edit and premiere it, all in 48 hours.
Jon’s film, “White Bitch Down,” won in Atlanta, and then won the national 48 Hour Project.
Pretty cool for a boy from Columbus, right?
After living and working in Atlanta, Jon and Leigh moved to Los Angeles about a year after their success with 48 Hour Project.
I keep in touch with Jon. We used to e-mail each other at least twice a year, but the past year or so, it’s been sketchy.
During Miss Georgia, I saw his mother, who is a volunteer usher at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. We chatted about how she was doing and how Jon and Leigh were doing. She told me that he had just finished another short film.
I was really happy to get an e-mail from Jon saying the short film was in competition in the Los Angeles Shorts Fest Friday night. It made its world premiere in the 2010 Palm Beach International Film Festival in April.
The film is called “The Farm.”
Here’s his description of the film:
“‘The Farm,’ set against the snow-capped mountains of Utah takes a look at the trials of America’s housing crisis through the eyes of four men caught in the web of progress, greed and humanity during the 1930s’ Great Depression.
“Sam Shoemaker (Justin Scot — “Ugly Betty” and “The Forgotten”), a poor farmer trying to cultivate barren fruitless land, has come up empty-handed and in debt to the local town banker, Mr. Drexler (Garrett M. Brown — “Big Love,” “Uncle Buck” and “Kick Ass”). With no source of income and the bank leaning to push him off his property, Sam finds himself at the end of a very short rope.
“Drexler, along with his son Jerusha (Dave Matos) and The Hoarse Man (Jasen Wade) drag Sam to a desolate piece of his property to teach him a lesson he will soon not forget; but as tensions surmount and the true colors of these men are discovered, all becomes unraveled and hell breaks loose.”
All that in 12 minutes!
I can’t wait to see it. I’m sure Jon will send me an advance copy. And when he gets a nomination for an Oscar, maybe he’ll get me in the Kodak Theater.
Good luck to him Friday night. It’s not too late for you to get a plane ticket to cheer him on at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters in Hollywood.
Sandra Okamoto, sokamoto@ledger- enquirer.com or 706-571-8580.