In a small town like Murray, it might be easy to overlook its potential stardom, but Edward Dublin didn’t. Dublin, Murray State alum and Murray native, decided to use Murray’s well-known friendliness to his advantage and made a film set in Murray called “Smalltown.”
“My father, both of my parents really, used to take me to the VHS store three times a week,” Dublin said. “I would go Tuesday, for the new releases, Thursday and Saturday.”
For Dublin, making a film was a process, one he said began while he was still in college.
“My friends and I would joke we should make a movie about our lives,” he said. “But nothing ever came of it.”
Dublin said when he graduated in 2009 was around the time the recession hit, so he went to work building houses with his father, Steven Dublin, a professor at Murray State. However, Dublin said his passion for film never died.
“It finally got the point where I said, ‘I have to do this,’” he said.
He never truly stopped writing down stories, but Dublin said he never brought one to a full story. In 2011 he said he wrote two scripts in two weeks, and then wrote what is now “Smalltown.” He broke the news to his wife and parents, and he said they were supportive and continue to be to this day.
So how did Dublin go about making a full length film? By October 2012, Dublin said he began filming. They filmed until November of that year. He said, his hired editor began editing the film while the cast and crew was on break for holiday.
“We did reshoots in March of 2013, and then spent the next year editing the movie, tried to send it out to every film festival, and getting rejected by every film festival,” he said. “Finally we were accepted into the Orlando Film Festival in 2014.”
At that film festival, Dublin said he received a best director nomination and his cinematographer, Joshua Lassing, received a best cinematographer nomination. From there the rest they say, is history. His film showed in another film festival in New York in January of 2015, showed in Paducah in November of 2015, and then a distribution deal was signed with Summer Hill Films. “Smalltown” was officially released on DVD in the United States in August 30 of this year.
Dublin said the process of filming was one that turned into more than just a job.
“We really came together as this family during filming,” he said.
The film even incorporates Murray, and Murray specific jokes. He said he threw in a lot of inside jokes, and references that people who have lived in Murray will pick up on. For Dublin, he said he wanted Murray to really be the costar of the film. However, this doesn’t mean Dublin wanted to make a film on people from Murray could relate to.
“I put in a lot of Murray references, and you know I said ‘It’s a Murray thing,’” Dublin said. “But it’s still relatable. They all have that thing in their own town.”
He said the greater message of the film, about dreams and “where do we go from here” in college, is relatable to anyone regardless of where they came from.
“Smalltown” wasn’t the end of the road for Dublin.
“Oh it’s been nonstop since then,” Dublin said.
He said he is currently working on another film project, to be shot in Nashville, and wants to write a book, also set in Murray. He said outside of his next film project, he wants everything to be set in Murray.
If students are also at a crossroads, looking at where to go with their life, Dublin offers hope.
“Just do it,” he said. “Just get your friends together, and just do it.”