Idaho Filmmakers Say Shooting Boise Author's "Smoke" Is Just The Beginning

Jun 7, 2013

(L to R) Stephen Heleker, Alan Heathcock, and Cody Gittings are working together on the film version of "Smoke."
Credit Matthew Wordell

Two Boise filmmakers will call it a wrap Saturday after a week of filming in southern Idaho. Earlier this year, Cody Gittings and Stephen Heleker raised money to produce a film version of Alan Heathcock’s short story, “Smoke.”

Heathcock, a nationally acclaimed Boise author, is helping to produce the short film about a father and son’s journey to hide a self-defense killing.

For Gittings and Heleker, the end of filming is just the beginning. The pair of recent Boise State grads plan to enter the final product in festivals this fall. They hope to produce a cinematic story that does justice to Heathcock’s writing.

The young filmmakers held auditions in L.A. and San Francisco to find the right actors for their film. New York City based actor Joel Nagle was cast as the father. Nagle – who has never been to the Gem State before – says he thinks the dynamic Idaho landscape has helped him get into his character.

“It just does something," says Nagle. "You’ve heard it before, probably-- the environment, or wherever you’re shooting -- acts as a character. And it really does. It feeds you. As soon as I got out, I just felt a part of the character. And [the environment] made it really come alive.”

Gittings and Heleker have moved their crew and actors to diverse outdoor locations for the shoot. One scene takes place in an idyllic field, and another in a light-flooded cave.


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