Private Project

Where the Great Spirits Live

Dirke, a war veteran, struggles with his own personal demons in a small town where he's shunned and misunderstood by everyone. One day, he meets Emma, the girl of his dreams. She's a girl who doesn't judge him regardless of whatever her friends and co-workers tell her. Emma is the only comfort that Dirke has going in his life when everything else seems bleak. In his lonely, run down motel room, he thinks and dreams about her although they only just met. Emma has an intense hold on him, and his world will never be the same. It's a love story which love takes place where fantasy and reality cross.

  • Melonie Gartner
    Two Rivers
  • Melonie Gartner
    Two Rivers
  • Melonie Gartner
    Two Rivers
  • Mark Borchardt
    Key Cast
    American Movie
  • Nathaniel F. Haban
    Director of Photography
    Two Rivers
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    25 minutes 22 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 31, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Manitowoc Library
    United States
    February 1, 2016
    World Premier
  • Southern Sykos Horror Film Festival

    United States
    June 6, 2017
    Best Female Director/Best Cinematography
  • Barcelona Planet Film Festival
    September 2, 2017
  • Cardiff International Film Festival
    Cardiff, Wales
    United Kingdom
    October 28, 2017
  • Fake Flesh Film Festival
    Kamloops, British Columbia
    October 27, 2017
  • Milwaukee Women's Film Festival
    Milwaukee, WI
    United States
    September 10, 2017
  • Weyauwega International Film Festival
    Weyauwega, WI
    United States
    November 10, 2017
  • Windigo Film Festival
    Manitowoc, WI
    United States
    October 6, 2017
    Best short
  • Wildwood Film Festival
    Appleton, WI
    United States
    March 11, 2017
  • Madison Library
    Madison, WI
    United States
    February 22, 2017
Distribution Information
    Country: United States
    Rights: Video / Disc
Director Biography - Melonie Gartner

Melonie Gartner is the director, writer and executive producer of “Where the Great Spirits Live”, “Two Rivers” and “Breathing Underwater”.

In 2007, Melonie wrote her very first script for a short film. The idea came about when she wanted to make a low-budget Hitchcockian thriller. The project went through many obstacles and evolved over the years. In early 2014, when she found her perfect leading man, Mark Borchardt, the star and subject of “American Movie”, several more layers were added to the script. After much thought, Melonie decided to title her first short film “Two Rivers”, the name of the beautiful city where she was residing in at the time. She couldn’t have been more pleased with the outpour of love and support from the people in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, who were intrigued to have a movie named after their city. In addition, the freshman film project did quite well at film festivals nationally and internationally.

Following “Two Rivers”, Melonie immediately got busy with its prequel titled “Where the Great Spirits Live” – also heavily influenced by Hitchcock. The prequel, also a short, was completed 2 years after her film debut, which garnered her an award for "Best Female Director" in 2017 and was accepted by various film festivals nationally and internationally as well.

Melonie has continued to stay busy with filmmaking and, recently, completed the third installment to the story. “Breathing Underwater” wrapped in 2021, and has hit the film festival circuit. The film has been well-received and anticipates to be screened at more festivals in the near future.

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