An independent film shot largely in the Columbus area, with a screenplay by a Northland High School graduate and directed by a former Ohio State University theater major, will have its local premiere on Friday, Nov. 12.

An independent film shot largely in the Columbus area, with a screenplay by a Northland High School graduate and directed by a former Ohio State University theater major, will have its local premiere on Friday, Nov. 12.

"Separation Anxiety" will be shown at the Gateway Film Center, 1550 N. High St., at 8 p.m. A question and answer session with some of those involved in making the movie will follow the screening.

Tickets are $10 at the door, $9 if purchased in advance by calling 545-1555, extension 5, or online at

The film is the second feature-length effort with a third in the can from Glass City Films, a professional production company that is seeking to prove, in the words of frequent actor and marketing director Kiana Harris, that the "Midwest is truly the new Hollywood."

"This is, like, the real thing, it's not like some farm kid made a movie," said director Cole Simon, a Toledo native who graduated from OSU in 2007.

"I feel like this is kind of the beginning of a generation of films that are made in the Midwest on a consistent basis," Simon added. "Artists in the Midwest are saying we don't need coasts to make a difference. We're going to stay right here and we're going to make it work. We're at the beginning of it so everyone has to be patient, but it's definitely here."

Although the name of the production company is taken from his hometown's nickname, derived from Toledo's long history with the glass industry, Simon said that "Separation Anxiety" was filmed to a large extent in Columbus because it just seemed right.

After all, the drama began its life as a play written by Jeremy Sony, a 1987 graduate of Northland High, for a Curtain Players Theater workshop in 2008.

" 'Separation Anxiety' tells the story of three childhood friends, Quinn, Jess and Bailey, and when one of them dies unexpectedly, how the other two deal with that loss," Sony wrote in an e-mail from Ohio University, where he is working on his master of fine arts in playwriting. "The film flows between the past and present, exploring the friendship of these three people, the events leading up to this moment, and also shows us the struggle of those left behind in the wake of a sudden death."

Sony wrote that he became involved with Glass City Films, which was founded in Toledo in 2007, through Cole Simon, who was an actor in the workshop production of "Separation Anxiety" at the Curtain Players and who asked him at the time if he had ever thought of turning it into a film script.

Transforming what was a play into a movie is always a dicey proposition, Simon admitted.

"The basic rule of thumb is a movie is a movie because you can tell the story visually," he said. "That is something we had a lot of meetings with Jeremy about because Jeremy is definitely a playwright, he's won some awards as a playwright, so screenwriting was something different for him."

When, after one particularly lengthy conference session, Sony willingly cut 30 pages of dialogue from the screenplay, Simon said that he had no worries.

"Writing the screenplay for it was exciting as I had studied film in undergrad at Notre Dame and this gave me a chance to imagine the story in a new light, and tell it a bit differently," Sony wrote. "The core story remained, but the film script allowed for fleshing out of locations and refining the dialogue. The biggest challenge for me was writing visually, for the camera, getting back to my film roots. Cole Simon, director, and John Klein, producer, were extremely helpful with their notes and feedback, encouraging me to tell the story with pictures as much as words and go as big as I wanted and let them figure out how to realize it.

"The finished film gives me chills every time I see it, not because I love the story or because I'm emotionally invested in it that goes without saying , but to see how it came to life on film has been extremely satisfying."

Although the film deals with the death, in fact, possible suicide of one of the trio of young friends, it's now a downer, in the director's opinion.

"I guess I would say I don't think it's a sad film as much as it's an emotionally draining one," said, Simon who now lives in Chicago. "There's definitely a revelation whether or not the main character has killed himself. The way it was presented ... in the end when we see that, it's something that just clicks in your brain: 'Wow.'

"I think it's a very gratifying ending with the right amount of twist to it."

"I hope after seeing 'Separation Anxiety,' the audience will think about the people in their own lives, the bonds we form and how we remember each other," Sony wrote. "Sure, it deals with loss and some of the complexities that come with dying, but in the end, it's more about how we are with each other while we're still here, trying to connect. I've never considered this a story about death, but rather a snapshot of life."

"This film, like every past and future Glass City Films production, is a terrific way to showcase the wealth of local acting, directing, and producing talent across the Midwest in a way that sadly goes overlooked by the big-budget productions at Hollywood studios," producer Klein was quoted as saying in the press materials.

In addition to a number of cast and crew members with Columbus and OSU connections, "Separation Anxiety" features television veterans John Wesley Shipp, a two-time Emmy winner best known for "Dawson's Creek," and "Law and Order" veteran Polly Adams.

The lead roles, however, are performed by OSU graduates or students Kiana Harris, who received her MFA 2009; Tyler Seiple, who grew up in Dublin, graduated from Worthington Kilbourne High School in 2002 and earned his bachelor of arts in 2006; and Corbin Jones, on track to get a BA in 2011.

Locations for "Separation Anxiety" filming included the Toledo Express Airport, Alum Creek Dam and St. John's Episcopal Church in Worthington.