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‘Mania’ Movie Partially Shot Premieres in Marshall County Wednesday | News, sports, jobs


CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS New York City, above, and Sand Lake just east of Marshalltown, below, are two of the filming locations for Jude Rawlins’ latest film, “Mania,” which opens today in Brooklyn.

Marshalltown-based Bella Luna Productions, a small, independent film company, is about to release its latest film, “Mania.” The film opens tonight at 7pm at the Vino Theatre, 274 Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn, NY, and at a later date in Marshalltown.

The film was shot in a house in Laurel, various locations in Marshalltown and in New York City by writer/director Jude Rawlins, based on an original story by Rawlins and Laura Deeley.

Rawlins’ previous film, ‘Dream Time’, was shot almost entirely in Marshalltown and premiered at the Orpheum Theater in September 2023. For this work, Rawlins won the Alfred Hitchcock Awards for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay at the Frida Kahlo Festival in Paris. in June 2023.

His 2022 film “Little Johnny Jewel” was also made in Marshalltown. He won the 2022 Jean-Luc Godard Prize for directing that film.

“Mania” follows Dandy Fleming as she recovers from her sister’s suicide and falls in love with psychiatrist Harris Bolger, whom she marries, as he promises her a fresh start in Iowa, away from her life in New York and her overbearing mother Nora .

“It’s an exploration of narcissism and codependency,” Rawlins said. “The main character is what we call the ‘exploding doormat’, codependent. There’s only so much she’ll take and then she’ll fight back in some pretty outrageous ways.

He added that the film is also about evil and gaslighting.

“People do what is in their nature and some people are confused that way,” he said. “One of the reasons I wanted to make the film in the first place was because I wanted to explore that and also, to some extent, educate people about narcissism. It is a real threat to public health.”

It stars Avery Knudson as Dandy Fleming, Rob Merritt as Harris Bolger, Patricia O’Neil as Nora Fleming, Mike Provenzano as Norris Fleming, Amy Van Holland as Dr. Lisa Barrett, Rebecca Haroldson as Det. Shaw Taylor, Cheyenne Goode as Ariel Fleming and Tom Mooney as Rev. Sweeney.

Some of the films that inspired the manuscript include:

• Gaslight (1940)

Mississippi Mermaid (1969)

• Opening Night (1977)

• Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)

• Repulsion (1965)

• The French Connection (1971)

• Stalker (1979)

• Possession (1981)

• White of the Eye (1987)

• The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Rawlins wrote the original screenplay in 2014 while living in London. He was inspired to rework the script to set the story in America after working with Iowa actors Knudson and Merritt in “Little Johnny Jewel.”

“I started location scouting in 2022 and went on to film in New York in late October 2022, and then in Iowa in the summer of 2023,” he said. “We will have completed filming ‘Mania’ at the end of July 2023.”

The Vino Theater was selected for the film’s debut due to its proximity to where some scenes were filmed.

“(The people in the theater) seemed like really good people, not because of the money, but because of the art,” he said. “We do not charge for tickets. It is free. We want to show the film there as much as we do in Iowa.”

Rawlins first became interested in Marshalltown through his love for Jean Seberg and decided to stay in the area.

“To me, Iowa is not a flyover state. I have found my home here. I don’t mind talking about all the good things. If you do that, it helps people see the potential,” he said.

Nancy Adams, a longtime Jean Seberg Festival volunteer, is a board member for Bella Luna and co-produced “Mania.” Adams took on the role of grant writer to secure funding for the project. She noted that this was the first time they approached the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation for financial support, and it was successful. In addition, two grants have been received from the Ann C Keyser Trust.

She noted that the board decides which projects are developed and produced and responds to the needs of each project and crew.

“Each board member takes a turn producing a film,” Adams said. “Sometimes scenes are filmed on our properties or we offer to house the cast if necessary.”

Rawlins’ next film will be ‘Three Witches’, with an all-female cast in a remake of ‘Macbeth’, which also has a lot of similarities with ‘Heart of Darkness’.

“There is a lot to be gained by getting out of your comfort zone. I feel like all our films do that to some extent,” he said.

Bella Luna’s financing consists of a combination of sources such as private equity, venture capital and subsidies.

Watch the trailer for “Mania” here: Bella Luna Productions can be reached at: [email protected] and 323-522-5822.

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