Poulsbo filmmakers release Fall City

New film puts a Washington spin on traditional Christmastime fare

On Thanksgiving, North Kitsap High School alums Erich Cannon and Nathan Lee released their new film “Fall City” after years of writing, re-writing and re-re-writing.

“Fall City” follows the journey of Jon Price, a recently-paroled thief returning to his hometown of Fall City, Washington. Things take a turn for the unexpected when Price begins to find joy after meeting a struggling single-mom, Olivia, and her daughter. With much of the film being shot on location in Fall City, the film showcases Washington’s characteristically bleak winters, starkly contrasted against the holiday cheer of the Christmas season.

The film is the culmination of an eight-year-long process said Cannon, the film’s writer and producer. Cannon and Lee began working on the script together back in late 2010. After an early draft, Cannon pitched the script to Lee, Fall City’s writer and director.

“[Cannon] wrote the whole first draft on his own,” Lee said. “I read it and loved it and we worked on the whole second draft together.”

After working through a second draft, the pair of filmmakers decided their script needed some significant alterations in order to flesh out their vision of the finished piece.

“We got it to a place where we really liked it, but we knew it needed some big changes and it kind of sat for awhile,” Lee said.

According to the producer, the script went through a necessary gestation period during this time.

“It needed to simmer for a long while. As we kind of grew and had a deeper understanding of life, the script kind of grew and matured as well.”

“The movie wouldn’t leave us alone, it kept coming back,” Lee added. “It felt like it wanted to be made.”

According to Cannon, the two filmmakers began searching for funding to make their vision a reality. No small amount of discouragement followed a number of instances in which a promising lead later fizzled out, Cannon said. This, however, would prove to be a boon for the pair, who were able to produce the film out of pocket — ensuring an uncompromising final product for the pair.

“It ultimately led to what Nathan said, ‘Come hell or high water, we’re going to make this thing this year with whatever budget we have,’” Cannon said.

“Turns out it was hell and high water,” Lee joked.

The making of “Fall City” was no small endeavor for the filmmakers who first made their directorial debut on Bremerton Public Access television in the late ‘90s.

“It was a tough experience, just with the limited means that we had and just truly trying to stick to our creative integrity, it definitely made it tough but looking back, I don’t think I would change anything,” Lee said.

“It’s one of those things that just hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” Cannon said of finally releasing the film for streaming on Amazon Prime.

“It could very well be that we just spent so much of our emotional energy, our mental energy and our physical energy to get this thing made. Now that it’s out to the world, it’s a great thing, but it doesn’t quite feel like much right now. I will say the reviews so far have been incredibly encouraging.”

Now we have this answer that we’ve sort of been asking ourselves for the last eight years: ‘Is this a good movie? Will people like this movie?’ So far, that answer is yes.”

You can catch “Fall City” playing Dec. 14, 15 and 16 at the Lynwood Theatre on Bainbridge Island and the Dragonfly Cinema in Port Orchard.

—Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. Nick can be reached at ntwietmeyer@soundpublishing.com