“My plan is to make 100 movies here over the next 80 years.”
That lofty desire is what drives Cawston native Joey Munroe’s film-making aspirations.
“I’m not kidding. This is just the beginning of something big. I want to make Lionsgate Studios, I want to make Universal Studios; my plan is to literally make more movies than anyone has ever made in history.”
For the last five years, Munroe with his film-making partner Connor Lang and their production company Joyline Pictures, have been making short films.
Munroe is currently back home in Cawston, where he is producing a short film shot on locations very familiar to him.
“We’re actually shooting on my best friend growing up on his parents’ farm,” said Munroe. “Now I’m just realizing the beauty that is in this valley – it’s unmatched. You could point a camera in pretty much any direction and get cinematic glory.”
Being back home, and shooting a film there, is something that still occasionally catches Munroe off guard.
“I can’t believe it’s real. Throughout the days, I’ll just find myself looking to the director, my buddy and producer partner Connor, and we’ll just nod, like, yep, we’re doing this.”
The film Walk With Me follows a country singer who returns home for her mother’s funeral and seeks to reconnect to a father she hasn’t spoken to in years.
It’s a story about addiction,” said Munroe. “Our goal with this film is if we can change one person to get clean or reconnect with a family member, then we’ve done our job.”
The short film is also using the Cawston Community Hall for staging during the filming, as well as supporting other local businesses as a way of giving back to the community.
“For this film we sourced local produce from Brandie Zebroff, a local farmer I knew my entire life. We want to support local business; I want to bring the economy to Cawston, I want to give people something to be excited about, to make it an experience for everybody, to put Cawston on the map.”
Joey also got his father Lance a small acting role in the film, as well as brought him onboard as a location manager.
“One of my life goals is to get him involved in the movie stuff I’m doing. The fact that he’s been able to run around and get excited about it, it feels good. I can’t wait to buy him a truck, buy him a house. For me, getting successful it’s about being able to give back to the people that brought me to this point.”
He also brought his nephews onto the set, to watch the film being made, and see them get excited and interested in the process along with him.
Walk With Me is only the first of Munroe’s 100 films in Cawston, and he is already getting ready for the second, which he plans to start working on next year.
“I got a movie, a script I co-wrote for a feature-length film, and I have my childhood home in that movie. All the locations I wrote specifically for Cawston, and we’re going to be making that one next year.”
Munroe is also working on a script for a horror movie with another writer, that he wants to shoot at his friend Joe Schneider’s Twisted Hills Cider location in Cawston.
For Munroe, giving back includes the community that supported him when he was growing up.
“I find a life of service; if you can serve the people around you, and raise them up, that’s why we’re here, right? Why not support everyone if you have the influence and ability to do so?”
Walk With Me started shooting on Monday, Oct. 5. The shooting is only the second phase of making a movie, with eight weeks of post-production currently planned.
Munroe’s first short film, Stick and Move, which he wrote and stars in, is currently being considered by film festivals around the world.
The submissions for the festivals’ consideration marks the end of a four-year journey from the beginning of producing that film.
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