A small independent film currently being shot in central Ohio has drawn the talents of some pretty big-name actors who have appeared in several major motion pictures.

A small independent film currently being shot in central Ohio has drawn the talents of some pretty big-name actors who have appeared in several major motion pictures.

It's all about the script, according to the first assistant director.

"I think the script's wonderful, and a lot of people are involved because of the script and because it's such a good story, and people are willing to give up something bigger and maybe making more money because they want to be a part of it," Northland-area resident Derek Rimelspach said during a recent interview.

The script for "God Don't Make the Laws" was written by David Sabbath of German Village. He is directing the first feature-length movie for his production company, Three Dog Films.

After the script was shopped around by casting agents in New York City, actors who agreed to appear in the drama include Paul Sorvino ("Goodfellas," "The Firm," "That Championship Season"), Bruce Davison ("X-Men," "Runaway Jury") and Robert Prescott ("Michael Clayton," "Burn After Reading").

"All three of them love the script," Sabbath said.

He's especially pleased at landing Sorvino.

"He was in 'Goodfellas,' and what more can you say?" Sabbath said.

"God Don't Make the Laws," which is being filmed in and around Columbus, including German Village, Granville, Newark and Grandview Heights, is set in the fictional village of Rockwell. It's a town that is, according to publicity materials from Three Dog Films, "almost perfect."

"Nobody gets sick, nobody dies and everybody lives unhappily ever after," a spokeswoman for the film wrote. "You see, Rockwell is frozen in time. Nothing ever changes and the monotonous life is leaving their souls empty. Status quo, that's their motto. That's also their dark secret. And that secret becomes threatened when a mysterious teenager comes to town. Released from a juvenile correctional facility, the teenager could be the instrument of change."

The movie is being shot on film, the write-director hastened to point out. It's classified, Sabbath said, as "ultra-low budget."

Northland's Rimelspach, who grew up in Findlay, said his job as first assistant director is to run the set, come up with a shooting schedule and make certain everything stays on time.

"Basically it's like a general in the army who makes sure everyone knows where to go," he said.

After graduating from high school, Rimelspach enrolled at Ohio State University, but without a clear idea of what he wanted to do. He found out after taking a couple of film study classes, and has been working in commercials and feature films for the past 11 years. He has his own film company, Slick Little Monkey Films, which on its website is billed as the "hallucinations of Derek Rimelspach."

His resume on the Internet Movie Database includes serving as a production assistant on "Spider-Man 3," along with similar roles in lesser known films with such intriguing titles as "Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing," "Johnny Appleweed" and "Frat House Massacre."

"I love films, but commercials are good money," Rimelspach said.

Sabbath, too, pays the bills that way.

"What I generally do are commercials," the Cleveland native who studied film at Bowling Green State University said. "I rarely work in Ohio."

But doing a feature film, and shooting it in Ohio, is a dream Sabbath has long held.

"I've been wanting to make a movie for 15 years, and I've finally been able to pull it together," he said. "I pulled the trigger on, 'Yeah, I'm going to do this,' probably in the end of May.

"I've written several scripts and this one did pretty well in the festivals. It was doable, based on the budget."

Rimelspach, who has worked on films in Los Angeles as well as in his native Ohio, feels that things have improved in terms of independent films not made on either the East Coast or West Coast garnering some attention.

"In Ohio and Columbus especially, a lot of people will embrace you with open arms," Rimelspach said. "They may ask a lot of questions, but it seems like everybody around here is so helpful.

"I'm proud of it. Here's something made here by people here."

Sabbath agreed, but was far more cautious in his optimism.

"I think it is much better, but there are a lot of people running around with video cameras shooting films and using people who are probably talented, probably good actors ... but nobody's going to buy your film or it's never going to get aired or it's never going to get released because you don't have a name in it," Sabbath said. "That's the first thing they ask. That will never change.

"You could have a really good script and some money, and that's me, or you could have a piece of crap and tons of money."

Still, the writer and director has high hopes for "God Don't Make the Laws," which he hopes to have wrapped up in perhaps a month or so.

"I'm thinking if this thing does very well on the festival route, I'll get a deal," Sabbath said.