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Journalist, JACK COHEN, is young, deceptively charming, and hungry for the big story that will change his career. His current underwhelming assignment lands him in a sleepy Midwestern mining town where no one talks to strangers – especially reporters. When his last hope, EMMA ELLIS, an eccentrically mysterious local offers to help, Jack must, in exchange, give her writing lessons - a deal he begrudgingly accepts.  Jack soon discovers that Emma’s parents and three best friends were murdered in a tragic shooting ten years prior, and is witness to the very particular way in which she deals with this trauma. He sees the game-changing article he has been waiting for right in front of him. Leveraging Emma’s trust, Jack duplicitously extracts the story, exploiting Emma’s tragedy for his own gain. Emma’s instability, threats from her military veteran brother CHAMP ELLIS, and Jack’s own ambitious treachery send him hurtling toward an explosive conclusion.

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how u.p. there was born

During her high school senior year, ZOE KANTERS (Lead, Co-Writer, Co-Producer), and her rural community in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan were inextricably impacted when three of Zoe’s friends and peers were killed by a random shooter at a secluded, yet popular local swimming hole. The gunman opened fire, taking lives, and later insisted he didn’t feel a “glimmer of remorse.” From this tragedy rose the idea to create a motion picture rooted in the idea of giving a voice to the voiceless, while illustrating the ripple effect of devastation that occurs in the wake of senseless violence. 

The night of the shooting, Kanters’ life shifted. Her innocence, along with that of the community’s, had been stolen. The image of her late-friend’s sister, laying on top of the grave, attempting to be as close as possible to the person she missed the most, always stuck with Kanters. And for nearly a decade, she had been carrying the weight of the events that took place that day. Fueled by the pursuit to channel this lingering weight into something positive, Kanters presented a concept to her co-writers, Daniel Weingarten (Lead, Co-Director/ Co-Writer) and Michael Blaustein (Supporting, Co-Director/Co-Writer), hinging upon telling the stories of those who no longer have the chance to tell them.

Together, they crafted a story and a script about those left in the wake of the aftermath. What happens when the news vans have gone, and the story is reported? In a small town where self-care and mental health are unspoken, how do that town’s grieving residents carry on? And what happens when, years later, the buried wound devoid of closure is once again unwittingly exposed? These are the questions the trio set out to answer. 

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Zoe Kanters, Daniel Weingarten & Michael Blaustein


Kirk Fox, Claudia Doumit, Natalie DiBenedetto & David Stifel

directed by

Michael Blaustein & Daniel Weingarten


Zoe Kanters & Michael Blaustein & Daniel Weingarten


Mary Novak & Zoe Kanters & Daniel Weingarten


Jorge Weingarten & Marisa Kivatinetz


Bill Meese


Daniel Weingarten


Mikel Hurwitz


John Maynard

first a.c./gaffer/steadicam

James Sielaff


John Lynagh

music supervisor

Garrett McElver


Marc Wielage & Henry Santos

sound designer/re-recording mixer

Nathan Ruyle

post sound services provided by

This is Sound Design

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Daniel Weingarten at