Film featuring Whidbey Island available to see for free
— Created January 6, 2021 by Kathy Reed
By Alec Brown
Film lovers have an opportunity to enjoy an award-winning short film featuring Whidbey Island for free, for a limited time. “The Hour After Westerly” will be available to see online until Sunday, Jan. 17.
The film follows a meticulous man discovering the alternative paths he could have taken in life. Search for it online at Vimeo, or find it online at vimeo.com/492609784/718dd1bce2
Filmmakers Nate Bell and Andrew Morehouse shot and produced the film right here on Whidbey Island.
“Get lost at several filming locations on Central Whidbey Island, including Fort Casey Inn, Coupeville Auto Repair, Greenbank Restaurant, Admiralty Head Lighthouse, and more,” said Kelly Gehringer, of Osborne Northwest Public Relations.
The film has won several awards, including the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts’ very own Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Whidbey Island Film Festival. It’s currently the first film ever to win such an award.
“We were doing a Hitchcock festival…showing six of his masterpieces,” Deana Duncan, WICA artistic director, described. “When I took a look at their film, first of all, I was floored at how well done it was. I was a filmmaker, so I know what it takes — and these two young men created such a beautiful film. The cinematography was perfect, the story was fantastic. It was brilliantly done and so well-executed.”
Duncan said the film had qualities none of the other contestants had.
“[It had] that ability to take me out of my reality and into their reality and keep me there without blinking, sneezing, getting up for popcorn — you want to know what happens,” Duncan stated. “It stands alone by itself. It’s a mini-masterpiece. People do not understand — you can have the most experienced director, the best script ever, good actors, but bringing it all together is magic. All of it matters.
“When it was time to give the prize, it was a no-brainer,” Duncan continued. “They had the most beautiful film.”
But Bell and Morehouse didn’t film here on Whidbey just by coincidence. Bell has family here, and the island’s natural beauty lent itself to the film’s mystery.
“The thing about Whidbey is it’s really a filmmaker’s dream location because we have everything here,” Duncan said. “Woods, water, nature — beautiful everything that you need to make a film.”
“Filmmakers from all over the world have long been drawn to Whidbey Island’s historic, charming and inspiring backdrops, which has bolstered awareness of the island as a tourism destination and in turn, our local economy,” said Sherrye Wyatt, film liaison, PR and marketing manager for Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism. “As we anxiously await the time when it’s alright to invite visitors back, we’re thrilled that Nate and his team were able share this gorgeous story and a piece of Whidbey Island with our local community, and future visitors near and far.”
Films on Whidbey don’t just help the movies—they’re good for our economy, and for our community, according to Wyatt.
“Film contributes a lot to the local economy, before, during and even after the actual production,” she said. “In just the few days one episode of ‘Z Nation’ was filmed here, the crew spent well over $30,000. Plus, that closing shot of the season finale at Fort Casey was so dramatic, many who watched it said to themselves ‘wherever that is, I want to go visit there!’
“Although ‘Practical Magic’ was filmed here over 20 years ago, there is such a strong following it’s still actively searched on our website and fans make a pilgrimage to Coupeville just to see the streets where the Owens sisters walked,” Wyatt continued.
“The Hour After Westerly” will only be available to stream through Jan. 17 at vimeo.com/492609784/718dd1bce2.
The film played at WICA’s second film festival last year. WICA’s third festival, which will be called “Legends,” has been postponed due to COVID. When it eventually opens, the festival will show classic films by Betty Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Laurence Olivier, Cary Grant, and more stars of the golden age. Find more information on the upcoming Whidbey Island Film Festival at wicaonline.org.