Author: Robert Creenan
At the North Park Theater, a Hollywood-like screening was taking place this past Saturday. No, it wasn’t the latest blockbuster, but a movie filmed at around 100 locations around the Western New York area.
That film is Let Them Have Their Way, an art-house feature about modern man’s materialism and how we don’t have any original, personal thought anymore. There are six main characters, making up three couples, who navigate this surreal world. But none of them have any real dialogue. When one of them, or their therapist, speaks, a silent movie-like cue card appears on screen to deliver the dialogue. Most of the movie is told through their actions and the uncountable amounts of real and invented audio and television clips. Some of the ones you’ll find are from 24-hour news networks, Everybody Loves Raymond, Fear Factor, and Wipeout.
Four of the six actors, Guy William Gane III, Adah Hagen, Doug Hendershott, and Elizabeth Oddy, are from the WNY area, and this is the first feature film experience for almost all of them. All of their other acting credits are in theater and television.
Some of the notable WNY locations you’ll see in this are the The Ellicott Square Building, The Market in the Square, and The Great Pumpkin Farm. Some skyline shots of the city are used as well.
The director, Dien Vo, currently an instructor at Virginia Tech and previously an adjunct (part time) faculty member at UB, mentioned that the film was the result of collaboration between around 500 people (roughly 400 actors, 30 crew, and 70 others who helped in general ways such as securing locations). Filming spread out across 100 days over four years. “We wanted to get each of the four seasons in it,” Vo said. “That’s why it was so spread out.”
The version shown was for friends and family of the cast and crew, and there’s still more editing to be done. “The sound mixing needs improvement, and it needs to be shorter. This cut is two and a half hours long,” Vo stated. When the final cut of this film is made, Vo hopes to enter it into various film festivals.