Last week, the film Blanche premiered in Marfa. It’s a story about a hermetic West Texas rancher suffering from the loss of his wife. But then, a friend decides to step in and help out… through some unconventional means.
Director Twila LaBar and producer Sam Pfiester met each other seven years ago when Pfeister first hired her to edit his family’s home movies. When the oilman first asked her to direct the feature film, she was skeptical, but then changed her mind after reading the script. “[I]t’s really a sweet story… it’s really about long-lasting friendships and relationships,” LaBar says.
Pfiester, a West Texas native, was originally inspired by a real bet about how far chickens are able to fly. When writing the screenplay, he used that event to explore themes of love and friendship. Pfeister had never written or produced a film prior to Blanche and was discouraged by some friends, but says he was determined to see the project through. “I’m from Fort Stockton, and ignorance never prevented me from trying anything,” he says.
LaBar and Pfiester made a deliberate choice to not use traditionally trained actors in the film. West Texans Carolyn Mangrem, Tommy Mangrem, and Clifford Hardwick are the stars in Blanche. Pfiester says, “We went for authenticity of character and speech, and we got the real deal.”
LaBar says Blanche is about hope, second chances, and “[N]ot giving up even if you face obstacles or hardships in life, that you don’t give up, you don’t isolate yourself. That’s really what the film is about.”
You’ll be able to find the film through on-demand services in the coming months.
The proceeds from the Blanche screening in Marfa benefitted Marfa Public Radio.