Mia Moore Marchant wants to make Aberdeen and Hoquiam stand out when she shoots her first feature film, "Again Again".
The sci-fi romance picture starts shooting in late June and it's slated to shoot for 18 days through July. Marchant is writing, co-directing, producing and starring in the film. Alexa Feeney is her co-director.
The project, with the estimated number of cast and crew between 10 and 12 people, will take place in a trailer, as well as throughout parts of downtown Aberdeen and Hoquiam, according to Marchant. She grew up in both Aberdeen and Hoquiam and is a graduate of Hoquiam High School. She also graduated from Grays Harbor College with her associate's degree. She now lives in Los Angeles.
"I think what I really want to get at with this film is just to have like, just to make Aberdeen look really cool, you know?" Marchant said. "I feel like this place is so like rustic and kind of like untouched by the outside world in a lot of ways."
Marchant listed a few places she has in mind for the film. She was in town to scout locations.
"We're gonna shoot like Boomtown Records, probably a church in town, Gargoyle Tattoo, and the waterfront, and make this look like the coolest place ever, you know?" Marchant said. "And obviously in the trailer. The movie mostly takes place inside a motorhome, so that'll be kind of a fun shoot, I think."
The trailer is 35-feet long by about 7-feet wide, but it felt smaller than that when Marchant spoke about the film from inside the trailer on May 16. That's where some of the tension lies in the film. Marchant said it's sort of like "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray.
That movie sends Murray's character into a time loop and he relives each day. Marchant explained what makes her film unique.
"It's about this woman who spends 10 years living the same day over and over and over again, inside a motorhome," Marchant said. "And so she's stuck there with one other person. They're like partners. For one of them they've been together and they've been in a relationship for 10 years, and for the other one it's like they just started dating five days ago. So for her, it's like a complete like honeymoon period and for the other woman, she's like completely, I don't know, it's like a long-term relationship."
The lead characters — aged in their late-20s — are "Agatha" — or "Aggie" — and "Tessa." Marchant will play Aggie. As of May 16, she did not know who would play her other lead. Abigail Thorn, who has the YouTube channel Philosophy Tube, will play another character in the movie. Thorn had 1.38 million subscribers, as of Tuesday, May 23.
"Aggie is the one who just spent 10 years reliving the same day and now she's out of it," Marchant explained. "That's the first scene. She wakes up the next day and suddenly she's back in the real world again."
Marchant explained how the two women have been best friends since childhood and how they decided to run away, "throw away their entire lives to be together and to drive off into the sunset."
The glitch is the time loop.
"No matter how much you love somebody, if they can't evolve and if they can't change as a person for 10 years, that's really going to weigh you down," Marchant said. "There's only so many things you can talk about with somebody when you've known them for 10 years, plus (another) 15."
Part of the film shows Tessa starting to learn a song. She only knows how to play about 10 seconds of the new song, and she plays that part every day. The repetitiveness is one of the irritations Aggie experiences.
"There's only so much you can sort of stand," Marchant said.
While Agatha loves Tessa and knows Tessa can't help how she is, the time loop tests their love. While it's just an example of the stress they face, they run into other tests throughout the film.
Watch the film's concept trailer on the film's Twitter page: @MiaMooreMovies
Marchant said the film jumps back and forth between being free from the time loop and back in it.
"That's the main part of the plot, and a little bit inside," Marchant said. "And so it's, mostly the film kind of feels like after lockdowns ended a couple years ago from COVID stuff."
Marchant said after the lockdowns ended, she "had to go learn how to go out and be in the world again."
"My friends all wanted to go out to a bar," Marchant said. "And going outside after the security of being stuck inside for a year and a half can be really scary. Suddenly, something you used to be able to do very easily is like stressful and terrifying. So the film is sort of, it's about a lot of things. It's about the relationship but it's also about like learning how to unthaw and be a person again, you know?
Marchant related the film to the experiences she went through when she came out as transgendered. After knowing her friends for so long, and then transitioning to the person she knew she was, she had to deal with people's reactions to seeing her female self. For some friends and relatives, she felt compelled to reintroduce herself.
And the film's dialogue is "naturalistic," Marchant said.
"I like people to talk like people," Marchant said.
For an example, instead of every character having a ready response, or lines being used as set-ups to jokes, there can be a little awkwardness, just like in real life.
Marchant explained how the film relates to her life.
"Definitely, like, as a trans woman, I felt like I've been stuck in place a lot in my life. Like I lived here in town for 25 years before I transitioned," Marchant said. "It just felt like it was a lot of waiting, you know, for something to happen. And then nothing happens. But then you go out into the world and you experience new things and it can be kind of terrifying."
She faced a lot of new interactions with old friends during the start of her transition.
"Suddenly I went out into the world and people interacted with me differently than they used to," Marchant said. "At the beginning of my transition, it was like people were cruel to me because I didn't pass or I didn't look like they expected me to. And now it's like very different because people see me as just a woman, so I've experienced so many different versions of what it is to be human."
The film, however, isn't so much about "transness," Marchant said.
"I'm interested in telling a story about a trans woman who just exists, and she has other problems going on, and she gets to be interesting," Marchant said. "Aggie is like broke and depressed and probably has substance abuse issues and like has a lot going on in her life outside of her transness. And that's just one part of her character."
Marchant explained how Aberdeen and Hoquiam are key parts of the film. The characters arrive in town just before the loop starts.
"Throughout those 10 years, Agatha has really gotten to know the area, but only as it exists in one day," Marchant said. "So she's had all these conversations and she knows so much about all these people, but she only knows them in that one context. I love the grungy, authentic energy that Aberdeen has. We want to shoot in like Boomtown, because it's just this place that seems like it doesn't exist in the city. It's sort of a hub for all of the kind of outsiders and people who are looking for their people."
And the film will also shoot in Kitsap County, on a dirt track. She's excited to film the demolition derbies there, because watching the derbies is something she did a lot as a child.
"It'll be fun to just film some car crashes and be like 'this is cool. Trans women can like all the same stuff that everybody else likes,'" Marchant said. "It's like I grew up around this culture, so I love watching cars smash into each other. And I love, like, going on hikes, and hanging out by the train tracks and throwing rocks at trains, or whatever."
Marchant said she grew up as both "queer, LGBTQ people" and "country folk."
"I grew up shooting guns at my grandpa's property and picking blackberries and just climbing trees in the woods, you know?" Marchant said. "It'll be fun to show that off on screen and just be like 'this is just a cool character who happens to be a trans woman.'"
Marchant wants to provide a transgendered character who is both relatable and not one-dimensional.
"I feel like in movies, trans people are just like crying constantly. They're just crying and crying and crying and they're usually played by men, you know?" Marchant said. "They're not allowed to be cool, or interesting, or multi-faceted. They're just like written by cisgendered men and played by cisgendered men and they're hard to relate to."
Cisgendered people's gender identity matches their biological sex at birth.
While Marchant earned her bachelor's degree in film studies at Central Washington University, she feels her film education developed through watching film and studying how they're made. She wants her film to provide an example of a real transgendered woman.
"There's a certain point where you get tired of just imagining and you kind of just have to see that happen for real," Marchant said about making her on-screen characters real.
To fund the movie, Marchant wanted it to be crowd-funded.
"I sold a script a few years ago and I tried to get it made through a studio and that was never gonna happen, so I crowdfunded this," Marchant said. "People on the internet crowdsourced our budget, and yeah, hopefully we can just be a scrappy little movie that shows everybody how it's done, just by being like authentically true to ourselves and to everything we wanted to see on screen that we haven't seen yet."
As of May 23, the film's creators have raised about $90,000 and it probably still needs a little bit more. To help fund the movie, head to their crowdfunding website: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/again-again-a-time-loop-feature-film#/
Marchant wants to make this as much a community product as possible. The movie needs extras and Marchant said experience is not required. She said if people want to be on a scene, on set as a crew member, go get coffee for the principle crew, they're welcome.
"All help is very appreciated," Marchant said.
Marchant wanted to thank Wil Russoul, director of Downtown Aberdeen Association for his assistance.
"Wil Russoul has been a huge help to us, like, getting ahold of different venues and locations for us to shoot the film," Marchant said.
She also wants to thank her parents.
"They've been just so, something to aspire to," Marchant said.
She said people interested in filling in as extras, or helping out with various in sundry tasks to support the project should email their name, phone number and what they are comfortable doing to firstname.lastname@example.org.