by Paige Watkins
As Far is a coming-of-age story about a young girl, Nina, who is struggling to recognize her worth and potential. Surrounded by people and an environment that could easily work against her and her goals for a successful, fulfilling life, Nina must challenge herself and - with the help of her friends - fight to overcome those odds. This short film, set to premiere this summer in Detroit, is the brainchild of young Detroiter, Paige Alston, who wrote the screenplay and directed the production of the movie. The Archives got a chance to sit down with Paige and two of the cast members, Malachi Anderson & Renae Nicole, to talk in the final days of production.
Paige wrote, directed and produced As Far in her first year out of college. Raised in the city, she graduated from Cass Technical High School and went on to Western Michigan University, where she studied Film, Video and New Media. As Far was written during a screenwriting class she took last summer, and grew from a class assignment to her first major step in her filmmaking career. She worked to cast all of the roles and find the shooting locations, and at the time we talked, was working on the last few scenes to finish up filming.
“We have a crew that developed out of the sky. I was going to do it by myself, and they just started coming in… all of this has really been godspeed.”
Paige loves what she is able to do as director, and Malachi & Renae agreed that the chemistry and the environment on set is always positive and supportive.
Paige wrote As Far as a film that is to be relatable and encouraging. The story itself is a coming-of-age journey, and behind the scenes, great care is taken to make sure that the film stays true to Detroit and to the 90s. With a cast & crew full of Detroit natives, that isn't difficult to do. There is an understanding to the Detroit shooting location as well as a familiarity with the Detroit-based story. As an alternative to the negative way Detroit is so often portrayed, As Far gives viewers an opportunity to see a story of Detroit that is positive and inspiring. They have worked hard for months filming the film and are in the final stages of production before the summer premiere. The entire cast & crew are committed to As Far and it shows. And to top it off, they’re doing it all for free! As up-and-comers in the film industry, those involved in this project understand the value of doing things for the experience, rather than the paycheck.
"Our favorite actors and actresses started off in small roles, I always think about Kerry Washington and her role in 'Save the Last Dance' and now look at where she is. You have to have faith that there is something behind that door for you, and walk in your purpose." - Renae Nicole, Actress
As Far is an independently developed film and has been supported by the cast and crew, as well as Paige’s personal investments. But she is open to support and donations from friends and community members to make everything happen. Currently, there is a fundraising project on GoFundMe for As Far, in order to be able to pay the cast & crew for all of the hard work they’ve done so far for free. The money will also go towards the cost of production, props and equipment, as well as theatre rentals for film screenings and film festival submissions.
Visit their GoFundMe and support these young Detroit creatives and this amazing project by donating to the fundraiser or passing it along to friends who can!
“We all have a dream, and we’re all putting our energy into chasing it. Everyone’s hungry and as long as we stay hungry, we’re going to put our best foot forward.”