For screenwriter and actress Schatzi Jore, having green skin is a dream come true.
A movie featuring a green-skinned, pointy-eared young lady from the Far Lands on a mission to defeat evil in the wicked land of Vondur was filmed on a farm outside of Williston. Using the badlands prairie as dramatic backdrop, the fantasy-medieval story includes fighting, kidnapping, romance and bareback horse-riding amid a good versus evil theme.
The movie will be 10 to 15 minutes in length and has a working title of “Journey through Vondur.” There are 15 actors playing 27 roles. Jore, the screenwriter and producer, as well as the lead actress, will likely submit the finished product to a film festival. Jore said this is her first complete screenplay.
In the past Jore had ideas for a full feature with exorbitant special effects, but said she set her “sights too high.” She focused on other goals and that’s when a manageable idea came to her.
“I was just living life, and one night I got a story in my head,” she said.
She got up and began to write. The story “grew and grew” and she “fell in love with it.”
Her friends Dorothy Nyberg, Mark Huntington and Alix Cammarota also helped her with the writing of the script.
Although the script was more manageable, it was definitely not simple. It was “not written for ease of production,” said Jore. The movie includes a horse and children as well as Broadway-type green makeup and wigs that can fall out of place.
Jore studied natural horsemanship at Parellli University and now teaches classes. Natural horsemanship is a method of communicating with and training horses using body language instead of English. Her horse featured in the movie, Star, is the horse she has worked with the most.
Karli Keck, Jore’s older sister, filmed and directed the movie, along with assistant directors Caleb Henry and Dorothy Nyberg. Keck attended Rosewood School of the Arts in Canada and obtained a degree in acting, which included some film study.
In February, she filmed for a Minneapolis company for a film festival.
Jore also plays the main character, Niara, a young girl who is sent on a quest from the Far Lands to a land called Vondur, which means wicked. Where she comes from everyone has green skin and pointy ears and is very loving, but in Vondur people have cream skin, rounded ears and act wickedly. She is told by God, portrayed in a voice over, that she has a power greater than a sword and needs to find that power to save the people in this evil land.
She attempts to boisterously love the people of Vondur because in her land people are friendly and very loving. With the help of a personified character called Love, she tries to make friends.
“She throws herself at people, especially a handsome young man, Taeland” said Jore. “She is not received very well.”
Niara doesn’t find happiness in her loving overtures or feel like she gets anywhere, so she decides to become passive instead. She doesn’t stand up for anything; she sees a murder and doesn’t do anything about it. She is lured into a tavern by a personified character called Evil. She becomes drunk and is romanced, drugged and kidnapped by Taeland, the man she tried to love before.
However, one of his assistants, Racham, sets her free. Taeland sends men to catch her. Niara escapes and while cowering in fear, is approached by children from the village who ask for her help in stopping the men who are attacking their village.
Niara asks God for help and then finds a horse in the woods. The horse brings her to her bow and arrows, which she was given to complete her quest, but had left behind when she took the path of evil.
Niara breaks down, expressing her hatred for the evil in the land.
She then has an epiphany: “That’s it ... to love what is true and noble, what is just and pure and lovely, and to hate evil with every ounce of your being, and to be willing to fight so that there may be goodness in the land. I may be the only soul this side of the stars who is willing to take a stand. But if it will bring love into the hearts of the people, it is worth the risk.”
When the evil men find her she shoots two of them with her bow and arrows and Racham shoots the other two. The movie closes with Niara reflecting on how she has helped remove evil from this land. God tells her that she has done well and has completed her training. He tells her she will now face her true quest — but not alone. The movie ends with Racham joining her.
Other cast members were Keegan Eide, Thomas Farrenkopf, George Heinsen, Josiah Hungtington, Mark Huntington, Emma Keck, Karli Keck, Piper Keck, Samuel Keck, Mitch Melberg, Dorothy Nyberg, Holly Osen, Heather Peterson, and JJ Stautner.