Indiana’s thrilling beauty comes alive in ‘Golden Voices’

Kalika Rose in the 2018 HIFF short film 'Golden Voices'

Kalika Rose in the 2018 HIFF short film ‘Golden Voices’

The Hoosier State
plays a starring role
in a supernatural
adventure short
by Chicago-based
Gold Point Studio

Golden Voices wowed audiences at Indiana’s Heartland International Film Festival last weekend. A mesmerizing supernatural thriller created by Chicago’s Gold Point Studio, the 15-minute short portrays the Hoosier State as a place of ethereal wonder.

The plot tells the story of a paranormal investigator’s quest to find “the source of ‘Golden Voices’ appearing on unknown frequencies across Indiana.” Shot over five days during last year’s Indiana Film Race, it comes to life with settings and elements that were prescribed by competition rules.



At first glance, working from a list of preordained visuals may appear limiting. But according to the crew, it actually allowed them to focus on the details of their surroundings and, most importantly, showcase the beauty of Indiana.

“The parks here are just incredible,” exclaims Grace Pisula, who served as Director of Photography and also operated a camera during production. “We captured beautiful close-ups and vistas and, during one particular dream sequence, created an experimental montage that eases the audience into a meditative state where the music and visuals combine to build awareness for the environment.”

Golden Voices crew at Heartland: Kalika Rose, Zack Sievers, Layne Marie Williams, Melissa Schlesinger, Grace Pisula
Golden Voices crew at Heartland: Kalika Rose, Zack Sievers, Layne Marie Williams, Melissa Schlesinger, Grace Pisula

Pisula was among the cast and crew who attended Golden Voices screenings at The Toby Theater as part of Heartland’s Indiana Spotlight One program on Friday and Sunday.

Afterwards, lead actor Kalika Rose says she felt “incredibly grateful” for the opportunity to participate.

“My mind was captivated and inspired time and time again,” she says. “To be included in such an immensely talented group of artists is one of the biggest honors of my life, and I’m truly grateful to the entire Heartland family for their warm welcome and hospitality. ”

The inspiring landscape of Indiana
Besides offering a glimpse of au naturel Indiana, the film ventures into various museums, town squares, and farms around the state, all while traveling in a recreational vehicle.

According to Zack Sievers, who wrote the screenplay and also operated a camera, the spectacular imagery sharpens a contrasting theme explored in Golden Voices.

“Indiana has all this beautiful natural landscape, but there are other issues about the environment,” he says. “It’s about looking around and maybe trying to do something to help the situation.”

An image from 'Golden Voices'
An image from ‘Golden Voices’

At the same time, he adds, the film offers a unique take on a genre that is due for a makeover.

“We wanted to make something sort of spooky, but nonviolent,” he says. “A lot of the horror I see is too violent and clichéd, especially towards women.”

At one point, the film even conjures “a spooky thing that brought you near death, in a contemplative sort of way.”

Serious stuff, no doubt. But according to Director Layne Marie Williams, Golden Voices is designed to connect with audiences of all ages and interests.

“It’s an adventure movie,” she explains. “Folks who are into hiking, sports, anything athletic in nature, I feel that there is definitely a link to them through this movie.”

So far, critics agree with her. Besides winning the 2018 Indiana Film Race, Golden Voices inspired Film Inquiry’s Laura Birnbaum to recommend the “wonderfully eerie film that exudes a summery-horror ambiance” to “anyone with even the slightest proclivity for curiosity.”

The allure has also mesmerized the film’s creators.

“We love Indiana,” says Williams, who was in town with the team. “We’re big fans of what the state has to offer, and the people are really nice and they love filmmakers.”

Besides providing an abundance of beauty and the love, Pisula adds that Heartland also offered the filmmakers a chance to talk about the exciting future of Golden Voices.

“The festival was a great place let people know that Golden Voices is a proof-of-concept that is being developed into a full-length episodic, most of which has already been written,” she says. “We look forward to continuing to do work in Indiana and with Indiana filmmakers” ”

Golden Voices next screening will include a post-screening Q&A with Pisula on August 10 at the Carmel Film Forum. For info, click here.