Writer/director/producer Sofia Lynch’s “Leaving Michiana” has been nominated for Best First Time Director (Female) and Best Women Short (USA) and Best Original Screenplay in the IndieX FestIndieX Film Fest, an LA-based international film festival with monthly live screenings and Q&A with cast & crews at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California..
The story of Olivia, a young woman who has always dreamed of escaping her small town as the last of the ties keeping her there dissolve before her, this next-to-no budget short film was filmed in less than a week in small-town locations across southern Michigan just before Hollywood would come knocking at Sofia’s front door.
As Sofia tells it, “Leaving Michiana” was made.. with spit, and glue, and the hard work and determination of a small but mighty crew. That’s why we proudly flaunt our makeshift slate as a symbol of our production. Like this slate, our film was made under scrappy means — created out of whatever we could get our hands on for free or next-to-nothing. (When you’re your own editor, you can choose to let go of some luxuries to save some pennies.
Says Sofia, “Whether or not we win anything, I am beyond stoked to have just been nominated. I feel very seen and validated as a creative. Thank you again.”
“Leaving Michiana” is a 20-minute short film written, directed, and co-produced by, and starring, Sofia Lynch. The next-to-no budget short was filmed in under a week in small-town locations across southern Michigan. The film was created as an excuse to bring attention to the often-overlooked charm and beauty of the rural midwest, and as a sort of business card for what Sofia can do as a creative.
“Leaving Michiana” was made possible through the loaned time and open hearts of many Michigan creatives and locals. Jona Kalaj, a high school friend of Sofia’s and producer in her own right, co-produced the film, and Sofia’s college sweetheart and creative partner, Frank Allen, acted as the cinematographer and camera op, as well as providing creative input and editing the short with Sofia.
Due to the lack of budget, Sofia likes viewers to note that this production is much like a student film. It was not made with top-of-the-line cameras, and the resources needed to make every detail as perfect as the control freak director would like it… but it DID have a top-of-the-line cast and crew, and the story/production is one woven with a lot of heart, passion, and time from all involved.
Sofia graduated from the University of Michigan in 2019 with a degree in English and a 30-minute comedy short under her belt. During her time at the UofM, Sofia worked as a beat editor for The Michigan Daily arts section, produced/hosted a political satire show for @wolvtv, and also won a university award for leadership in the fine arts.
After graduation, Sofia moved to LA to break into the film industry where she snagged a position as a Writer’s PA for a Netflix show — earning her first official “name in the credits.” In the job search after that position, Sofia reconnected with her childhood passion for acting and has since thrown herself completely into pursuing her dream of performing.
“Leaving Michiana” is her first-ever independent short where she has total creative control, so she’s so excited — and definitely NOT nervous— to share it with the world, but most of all, she’s incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support she’s received so far.
To follow Sofia Lynch on Facebook. You will want to keep your eyes on this fast rising star.