CICINNATI — It’s no Hollywood Studio, but with a decent camera, good lighting and the right microphones, anything can become a film set. Joe Gribble’s basement is no different.

“We used this as the day room for the nursing home that was pretty simple to do. We moved all this furniture over to the side and actually grabbed this table right here, put it in the middle,” he said.

What You Need To Know

  • Hollywood films are facing distribution and production obstacles, allowing independent films to rise through streaming service

  • One of those films was written, shot and produced in Dayton

  • The pandemic brought post-production obstacles, but high demand for new content made distribution easy

The easily accessible location helped bring a few scenes to life in his first full-length film, “Darkest Edge.”

Gribble describes it as a psychological thriller based on a Dayton legend surrounding an old insane asylum, so it was only fitting he produced the film in Dayton. It was shot in locations around the city and suburbs, and eatured Dayton talent and a Dayton director.

A longtime film enthusiast, Gribble said he’s dabbled in screenwriting for years but it grew beyond a hobby after he joined a club called Film Dayton.

“Everybody wanted to make a movie, but nobody was doing anything,” he said. “So, I said, okay I’ll make one.”

That’s when the club pitched in and though they had nothing close to a Hollywood budget, Gribble said he was satisfied with everything they could recreate before wrapping up filming in late 2019.

The greatest test of creativity would come during post-production, however. Gribble said that started about the same time as the pandemic hit.

His director and editor Naim David was out of the country at the time.

“I came here to visit family and I got stuck here,” he said.

From Jordan, David added thousands of miles to what already had to be a socially distanced collaboration. Instead of working off the same hard drive, David had to send Gribble the film in chunks through a cloud service to get approval before putting together the final project.

As the file sizes grew, Gribble said it could take all day for the cut to upload for him to watch. Despite the slowdown, he said they both agreed not to wait until they could work together in-person.

“If we had waited, we’d still be waiting,” Gribble said. “And we’ve already had the movie out for three and a half months now.”

Once complete, Gribble said he and David got to reap an unexpected benefit of finishing a film in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. The film was quickly signed to a studio and added to Amazon Prime’s streaming service.

Gribble credits high demand for new content, giving creators like him, whose low budget project don’t depend on a large theatrical release, an advantage.

That’s one of many reasons Hollywood films are still waiting for release. Many big blockbusters can’t make a return on investment with a straight to streaming release. On top of that, current projects with large crews, international casts, and scenes that require widespread travel have lead to a series of production delays.

Gribble said independent filmmakers or any low-cost project with small, local crews and few sets will likely dominate new releases until the pandemic is under control in the United States.

Still, he said even for projects like his, something has been missing since its release.

“We wanted to have a premiere at a local theater,” he said.

He hopes to show the film to a Dayton audience soon, but until then, Gribble said he’ll settle for any screen willing to watch his work.