WHITEWRIGHT — While it doesn’t boast the Bill Paxton/Luke Perry star power of "Red Wing," nor its feature-length running time, the newly-released short film "John and Claudia" does share one important trait as far as Grayson County is concerned: Whitewright was the principal filming location. And so it was that Texas-born director David Redish debuted the 8-minute short in front of a few dozen locals at Whitewright’s newly reopened Odeum Theatre on Tuesday night.

WHITEWRIGHT — While it doesn’t boast the Bill Paxton/Luke Perry star power of "Red Wing," nor its feature-length running time, the newly-released short film "John and Claudia" does share one important trait as far as Grayson County is concerned: Whitewright was the principal filming location. And so it was that Texas-born director David Redish debuted the 8-minute short in front of a few dozen locals at Whitewright’s newly reopened Odeum Theatre on Tuesday night.


"It was a great experience filming here in Whitewright," Redish told the crowd after the screening. "You guys have an amazing city and great people, and it made the experience very memorable."


Filming took place over 10 days in March earlier this year, both in Whitewright and Marfa in West Texas. According to Redish, it was one of the actors from "Red Wing" that turned him on to the location.


"We were looking all around Dallas, and a friend of mine, Glen Powell, who was in ‘Red Wing,’ said, ‘Go to Whitewright.’ So we came here, and immediately we fell in love with the town."


In its current, abbreviated form, "John and Claudia" tells the fictional story of young Texas lovers turned crooks in the 1970s, played-out like an 8-minute movie trailer. Redish said the short film will be shown at several festivals, with the hope of securing funding for a full-length version, to be shot next year.


"We’ll be taking it to a few film festivals later this fall and through the winter into the spring," he told the crowd. "And we’ve got a few other producers we’re showing it to, along with the feature-length script. We’re kind of saying, ‘This is an example of the quality of the storytelling we want to bring to a 90-minute film.’"


Redish said the film crew’s experience in Grayson County was positive, especially considering the constraints of an independent film.


"When you are on an independent project with a limited budget, you run into a lot of ‘Nos,’" he explained. "It’s really hard coming into a place where you don’t know anybody and starting to ask favors. But here, everything we asked for — you know, ‘A pretty house with a white picket fence’ for example — (the town) was like, ‘Here’s 10 pictures, pick one.’"


When asked directly by an audience member whether that flexibility earned the town a return engagement for filming, Redish didn’t hesitate.


"The full-length version, right now, is on paper. But hopefully within the next year, we’re able to secure the funds to make it. And we’d love to come back to Whitewright and shoot those scenes with bigger casts and many more shooting days."


The response came immediately from a woman at the back of theater.


"We’re ready!" she shouted.