Be one of the first to view Lakeside-inspired film “Beyond the Lake” at its premiere on Saturday, July 9 at 2:30 p.m. in Orchestra Hall. Following the screening (1h 40m) there will be a Q&A panel with filmmaker Domenic Porcari. There is no additional admission cost to attend this premiere.
The film was written and directed by Lakesider Domenic Porcari and much of the film was captured throughout Lakeside’s grounds in the fall of 2020. Porcari grew up visiting Lakeside, attending God Squad, playing shuffleboard, and even helping to deliver the Lakesider newspaper. After his family purchased their cottage on Elm Avenue about seven years ago, Porcari spent summers here working at Coffee & Cream and Hoover Auditorium.
He graduated from Point Park University with a bachelor’s degree in film production in the spring of 2020. As he stepped into the next chapter of life, he recognized that he may not be able to experience Lakeside in the same way again. To him, this film is in part an “ode to Lakeside.”
“Beyond the Lake” tells the story of Joseph Lakeman, a former musician whose picturesque life shatters when he re-encounters Allison June, the woman who caused him to walk away from music. Both Joe and Allison must confront each other, and their past, as they decide whether their reunion will be a reconnection or a final farewell.
At Amsterdam International Film Festival, an up and coming festival in the heart of Amsterdam, the film was nominated for a Filmmaker Globe Award and won the award for Best Trailer.
Like the film’s main character, Porcari is also a musician. In addition to writing the script and directing, he also wrote six of the film’s seven songs. Though Porcari may be known in Lakeside for writing parodies about pickleball (to the tune of “Wonderwall” by Oasis) or quarantine (to “One Day More” from the musical Les Misérables), this was his first time writing his own music from start to finish. As other talented musicians worked with the music throughout the film, he was honored when they “added their own flavor.”
One theme throughout the film is balance, as the characters heal and seek to restore balance in their lives. Characters are often seen doing activities that challenge balance like slacklining or riding a bike. This idea carries into the film’s writing. Described as a comedy feature, “Beyond the Lake” takes on deeper topics in a way Porcari describes as “salted caramel,” a complimentary balance of comedy and drama, that heightens the impact of each.
“Salted caramel” might also describe the filmmaking process – filled with blessings and challenges that came together to ultimately strengthen the film. “Some of those challenges led to better things,” said Porcari.
On the crew’s first day of filming in Lakeside, a bagpiper began to play from the dock just moments after they called a wrap, and the crew shared a laugh on the “near miss.” Serendipitously, Porcari later ran into the piper and invited him back to film a scene.
As the editing process went on into the spring of 2021, Porcari found himself evolving, and with that, his relationship with the film. The ending he had previously written and shot no longer seemed to tell the right story. Porcari questioned, “How do we change the ending of the movie without being able to reshoot anything?”
Though the bagpiping scene ultimately didn’t make it into the film, the footage collected around this scene turned out to be instrumental in revising the film’s ending.
The opening scene of “Beyond the Lake” also did not go according to plan. One of the final scenes shot, the clip of the lead character smashing his guitar against the pavement should have a been cathartic ending for the cast and crew. After plans for “smashable” guitars fell through, Porcari had to make the difficult decision – to destroy his own treasured guitar, a gift from his father and the very guitar he used to write the music for the “Beyond the Lake.”
Later that night, Porcari’s family wondered why he wasn’t in better spirits after his final day of filming. When his father looked over at the empty guitar stand, he knew what had happened. Porcari made his father a promise “Whatever it takes, I will fix it.” After months of carefully gluing dozens of pieces back together, the guitar was once again playable. The restored guitar, which will be available to view at the July 9 premiere, serves as a physical reminder of a key theme in the film – one’s ability to heal and grow.
What’s next for Porcari? “Continuing to grow ‘Beyond the Lake’ is priority number one,” he said. While Porcari works to develop the business side of the film, he is creating the pilot episode for a possible fantasy action series called “Of Monsters and Men,” about misinformation, identity, and redemption.
Porcari is excited to share “Beyond the Lake” with the community that “both inspired it and made it all possible.” Countless Lakesiders pitched in to bring this film to fruition, from opening up their homes, to sharing golf carts, bikes, and even wedding dresses. “This really was a Lakeside movie.”
To learn more about “Beyond the Lake” and follow the film’s journey, visit beyondthelakefilm.com and stay for the Q&A panel following the film screening moderated by fellow filmmaker Darrin Hoover.