Local filmmaker Jonathon Kimble to debut ‘Gibsonburg’ June 6Written by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathon Kimble will soon put Toledo talent and locales in front of a large audience with the completion of two movies.
Starting June 6, the director/actor/editor’s movie “Gibsonburg” — the story of a high school baseball team’s drive for a state championship despite a 6-17 regular season record — begins a weeklong run in independent movie theaters across the state, including at the Maumee Indoor Theatre. Later in the month, it is scheduled to be available on On Demand.
Kimble became involved with the film shortly after graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2011. He was originally brought on to serve as the cinematographer’s assistant. Two weeks after arriving on a set he described as “tenuous” and “an absolute mess,” he was the director. Kimble and friend/filmmaking partner Casey Smith got their first chance at professional cinema.
“It ended up being almost a perfect situation for us, as much of a mess as it was,” Kimble said. “It let us flex our muscles in a way that we never would have been able to do on a normal production. We learned to work with less, able to make the project transcend itself. It was the type of project that let us work the way we had always worked, but on a bigger scale.”
Although “Gibsonburg” is just now being released, Kimble has already stretched his filmmaking talents further with the completion of his next film — a gritty, street crime drama titled “By Demons Be Driven.” Kimble further shows his chops by taking a lead role in “Demons.”
The 25-year-old Toledo native and Maumee Valley Country Day School graduate is confident both films display homegrown, professional talent, both behind and in front of the cameras, despite their miniscule budget.
Putting together a top-notch production on a D-list budget is not without its challenges, but Kimble sees greater issues than the money. Getting past low expectations of audiences and industry insiders are much more on Kimble’s conscience.
“If someone gave me $10 million to make a movie, the first thing I’d do is probably give most of it back, because I wouldn’t know what to do with it,” Kimble said. “Not having those resources can be frustrating, but really it’s people not taking it seriously. I almost don’t blame people for that at all … in the age of YouTube, etc. Most of the stuff they see, the standards are so low now. The market is so saturated with stuff now, it’s hard to get people to understand that this is pretty high-level stuff, all things considered.”
Although “Gibsonburg” was filmed largely in the Columbus area, Kimble turned his camera closer to home for “Demons,” a movie that in theme and plot recalls “Mystic River” or “The Departed.”
Local Toledo spots such as The Hungarian Club, Registry Bistro and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church play prominently in the movie’s story. However, Kimble — himself a Downtown Toledo resident — hopes most viewers won’t notice.
“I didn’t want it to be Toledo,” he said. “I wanted to show that we can make Toledo look like any other place, where a high-end, epic feature can be filmed. I almost wanted people to ask, ‘Where did you shoot this? ‘and when I answer ‘Toledo,’ they say, ‘Wow, it looked great, it could have been Chicago or Indianapolis.’ I wanted to show that it’s just as good to film things here.
“I was very influenced by the look and texture of this city,” he said. “I’ve always been motivated to capture that on screen. … But I don’t want to be screaming ‘Toledo!’ and I don’t want people to be saying ‘Toledo’ on screen.”
Kimble hopes the “Gibsonburg” run will showcase the cinematic abilities of Toledo, both in cinematography and of those behind the cameras.
“There hasn’t really been that one thing that anyone can hold up and show what can be accomplished here,” Kimble said. “That’s one thing I hope to be able to do. If “Gibsonburg” can make some noise, then hopefully we can get some eyeballs on “Demons,” to have something that is really high-level and shows what can be done in this area.
“If this was in LA, I’m bound to have a cousin or a friend of a friend who knows someone they can convince,” he said. “But out here, we’ve got this great project but we don’t have any connections to that world.”
While “Gibsonburg” is more of an inspirational, coming-of-age tale of overcoming the odds, “Demons” dwells in slightly seedier territory.
As a character in the movie states, “Every man has to face the darkest parts of what their life has become.”
It’s a message that seems universal to Kimble.
“Something I’m totally fascinated with is people making bad decisions. … You see people who are good people but they just do bad things sometimes,” he said. “The protagonist (in ‘Demons,’ played by Kimble) is becoming an adult, has perspective on life, sees the bad things he’s done, now trying to rectify some of those things. Universally, I think that’s a theme that will hit with anyone in the movie. Most people watching it have never been asked to kill anyone, the stakes weren’t that high. But they also relate to things they’ve done, trying to find redemption without falling into complete self-loathing and falling into complete self-destruction patterns.”
On June 6, the Maumee Indoor Theatre will show “Gibsonburg” at 2, 4, 7 and 9 p.m. From June 7 through 13, the film will be shown once or twice a day, with showtimes yet to be determined. For more information, call the theater at (419) 897-8901.