Director's Statement:

"I had written another screenplay a couple years ago while Amy and I were staying in an earthship out in the desert near Taos. I spent a year trying to figure out how to make it, but it was pretty involved and ambitious. We all sat around the bar a lot together talking about the movies we would make, so I wrote a new screenplay specifically
with our available means in mind as a conscious attempt to call our collective bluffs. Amy was editing Nice Bombs at the time, so we had plenty of footage of people trying to get by in Baghdad around the house and my cousin had just gotten out of jail and was telling me a lot of stories. These both informed the screenplay a great deal, as did reading The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler. Me and Amy had moved into my gramma's house way out on the west side, so in an attempt to make the most out of a bad situation, I wrote it thinking we'd just turn my gramma's house into the location and production HQ. But my dad died, so we were able to just use his empty condo in the
suburbs instead."


Orchard Vale takes place in the near future in the American suburbs. The infrastructures of modern convenience have collapsed and the culture has descended into anarchy. Small groups band together to survive by whatever means they collectively can. Sophie, a 15 year old girl, supports her father Gus and her brother Archie, Archie's old best friend Harry and his sister Sabine, each of whom seeks comfort in his or her own constructed reality.

Only Sophie can venture out into the world to barter for food and goods. Ambiguous militias and black market entrepreneurs threaten the others too much for them to leave their small apartment. The days pass with slow dread interrupted only by occasional outbursts of giddiness or pouncing on each other without warning.

Besides providing material support, Sophie also keeps the bunch afloat emotionally and psychologically. Her days are devoted entirely to service for the others. She keeps her only joys, her pet gerbil and her journal, strictly to herself.

But the pressures of maintaining the well-being and health of her family get to be too much for Sophie. She wants to be everything everyone needs her to be and struggles against her own physical limits of exhaustion to try to do so. But really her hope is all she ever had to offer. Once
the cracks begin to appear in that shield, by what other means can she
possibly survive?

Orchard Vale raises more questions than it can possibly answer - where does Archie get bananas? And what does Sophie really have to offer in trade? Much of the story is told in between the moments other movies would have probably shown to tell the same story. This is done to invite the viewer to become an active participant, hopefully prompting the audience to expand upon the questions it raises.

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