It’s Cool to Care About: Just South of North



It’s common to think of your hometown as common. Maybe even your home state. This is even more common if you come from Ohio.

We’ve certainly had our triumphs—and a lot of people would argue we’re really “not as bad” as some may think. We have winning sports teams, eclectic and redeeming artistic cities, and if you think it’s cool that famous people actually lived somewhere before New York or LA, well The Black Keys are from Akron, Steven Spielberg is from Cincinnati, and Halle Berry from Cleveland (hallelujah).

It wasn’t until one of my last days in Ohio when I realized how much I would actually be missing. Packed and ready to hit the Big Apple, my jazzed excitement in the back seat, my Mother’s incorrigible fear of sex trafficking in the front, it was “what I had been waiting for,” or what someone at the local ice cream place would describe as really cool. But even as we were leaving, I couldn’t seem to take my gaze away from what I would habitually call a boring asphalt road, littered with sporadic strings of gummy tar that filled the cracks in the pavement because they were considered either aesthetically displeasing, or something of a small neighborhood hazard. These were the tar lines I walked on as a child, barefoot in the cul-de-sac around noon, feeling okay with the heat between my toes while avoiding the sea of monsters and lava that was the asphalt on the other side of the lines.

Such subtle, yet profound midwestern sweetness is the landscape Just South of North wishes to tread, sinking its toes into the mythical backdrop of the midwest with a coming of age story set seemingly perfect in the heart of Appalachia. Jillian, a small town girl with a bubbling curiosity, grows weary of her current state of familial affairs and decides to quest with her brother, Stanley Jr., in a classic heroine’s journey to find what they believe is the one thing they’ve been missing for too long: a Mother.

“I realized that I wanted to make a film in Ohio and tell a fresh story about Ohio’s people,” states the film’s director Mike Arter. “Ohio is a state that has been both brutal and wonderful to me. Ohio is a place where indie films can potentially flourish.”


Aptly seen in the character teaser for the film’s Indiegogo page, Just South of North’s Midwestern-specific feel and poetic mesh of adolescent angst and curious bewilderment excites new ground for storytelling and properly exhibits the collaborative passion of its middle American creators.

“It’s restored a little bit of hope in me that filmmaking can still be an altruistic collaboration between like-minded but diversely talented individuals.” says the film’s Producer Allie Levin. “For JSON, we are working towards one goal, we are all on the same page. We’re not afraid to put in a little extra work to make this project feel right. “



“Filmmaking is one of the highest of art mediums.” says Arter. “It involves so many moving parts which can make it hard to tell people in-depth what goes into it. I hope that through social networking and people’s generous contributions to this project, we can all gain a better appreciation for filmmaking and also create something to be proud of.”





By: Cynthia Robinson 


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