Like many in Dayton, Ohio I was extremely pleased when actor/director Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) mentioned filmmaking in my hometown at this year’s Oscars. But it really should not be that astonishing since Dayton is so closely associated with performing arts. Theater certainly is well represented with the Schuster Performing Arts Center, Dayton Performing Arts, the Loft Theatre, the Victoria Theatre Association and The Human Race Theatre Company (just to name a few).
Dayton also has a history of famous actors within the community: from the voice of Bart Simpson (Nancy Cartwright) to Apocalypse Now’s Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) to President Kennedy (Rob Lowe in Killing Kennedy – it is interesting that both Sheen and Lowe have played President Kennedy in their acting careers, and that Sheen has played both John and Robert Kennedy.) At the inception of the silver screen Dayton was there in the form of silent film star Dorothy Gish. Dayton residents Katt Williams and the late Jonathan Winters have caused the world to laugh through their creative comedy antics. And of course there were, and are, many more from the Miami Valley who made or make Hollywood their home.
Dayton is also the home of budding filmmakers. Wright State University has a well-recognized film school and FilmDayton is a growing community of filmmakers who demonstrate their creative art. Nor does one have to travel far to find other filming communities; both the Southern Ohio Filmmakers Association (SOFA) and Mid Ohio Filmmakers Association (MOFA) are near Dayton. And of course the Ohio Film Office, and the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission are there to help creative filmmakers.
The point is that while my hometown was mentioned by name, it should come as no surprise. Nor, for that matter, if it were your hometown; for while these groups and associations are always helpful, the truth is that any art can flourish wherever there are creative people. Location certainly can be a benefit in building an artistic career, but nothing replaces individual creativity and ingenuity. Which when you go back and listen to Mr. Hawke’s comments, you realize that was his point. Art’s only limits are found in our lack of expression or use of our creative gifts. So let your art grow – whatever it is and wherever you are. When you do, there really are no limitations.
YouTube Link (a special thank you to Dayton’s own Gina Ferraro for capturing Hawke’s comments at the right moment)
Born in Columbus, Ohio and raised in Dayton, Tom Dallis is an American film director, producer, editor and scriptwriter. To date, Tom has produced dozens of documentaries and features including award winning films such as: Through A Lens Darkly, The Fall of Jericho, We The People: The Character of a Nation, Ancient Ways, Future Paths (a 6 episode film series), The Shortest Way Home, and the science fiction feature film The Watchers: Revelation. He will also be directing the upcoming horror film, Vestiges, and a science fiction web series.
He and his wife Amy have been married since 1994 and have one daughter, actress Carissa Dallis.
Be sure and check out his Creative Crosswalk Blog.