These last few months really have been a wild ride. My film Somewhere Only We Know has been in post production since January and I am almost finished. My team and I are gearing up to premiere the film in May, and everything has been slowly coming together.
The film itself explore the idea of legacy. The film follows Janice and Richard Horak, and specifically deals with their 83 acre property in Johnson County, IA they named Wildwood Farm. One of the biggest and most important things we delved into in the film is what happens to this property when they pass along. I won’t get into what happens (hint: you should probably watch the film) but I do want to say is the decisions that they made regarding their land and their legacy were very impactful. It was so impactful that I knew we had to tell this story.
Recent events have made me think about this idea of legacy even more as of late. I regret to inform this, but Richard Horak, passed away this past Saturday evening. He had become very ill over the past few months. He passed away along side his wife Janice, his son Nick, and family friend Ann. He was preceded by his son Daniel.
A few weeks prior, I got a call from Janice telling me that Richard was in the intensive care unit at the University of Iowa. She asked if we could possibly finish film and get them a copy to show Richard in the beginning of the end. I had to. There was no other option. I spent that entire Saturday finishing the film. My project mentor Shawn Cornally came into Cedar Rapids in the middle of a blizzard (yes, in Iowa we get snow storms at the end of March now) to help me finish it. We finished it that night, and I brought Janice a copy the next morning. Richard got to see the film, and that is all that I wanted. I am forever grateful that Richard and Janice were so generous as to let me into their homes and into their lives for seven months as we got the stories we needed. I am forever grateful to Shawn for helping me through everything, but especially for helping me finish this film when I needed him the most.
Richard was a great guy, and I am so glad my team got to know him. He was funny. He was always telling us jokes, telling us stories about how his kids got stuck in the creeks. He was definitely quirky, but he was kind hearted. He donated so much time to not only myself, but my entire team. He was always thoughtful, thinking and planning all of the information that he could give to my team each time we visited them. He even prepared myself and Kyle Ennis (Producer, Somewhere Only We Know (also a close friend)) a folder of all of the trees and leaves he had collected over the years.
This film that we’ve made, although it is the exact same, is now completely different. It means so much more. To Janice. To myself. To BIG. To Shawn. To everyone. The story is the same, yet this now inevitably memorializes Richard in a way that we didn’t set out to do. It’s crazy to think of what this project now means, serving as a way to preserve Richard’s voice. His ideas. Everything. This project has been the most impactful thing I have done in my entirety. We had the opportunity to capture Richard. We captured his stories of the past. We captured his legacy. We captured memories. We captured his smile, and his laugh, and his jokes. But most importantly, we captured him talking about his biggest passion of land preservation.
Richard Horak has been one of the most impactful people of my youth. He changed my life forever.
Please consider coming to see Somewhere Only We Know. Please consider listening to Richard’s story. (www.sowkfilm.com)
Much Love. Talk Soon.