Redondo Beach actor and filmmaker Edward Mizner embarked with friends to shoot a short film in the nearly deserted Route 66 town of Amboy in California, earlier this year. The 5-plus minute short is now in competition at the Australian Independent Film Festival, which takes place November 24, in Brisbane.
In “No Trespassing,” Mizner plays an investigator trying to unravel the mystery of five missing children. His search leads to an abandoned school where something “sinister” might be lurking.
According to Mizner, the story came from Masaki Itagaki, who directed, produced and edited the film as well. Besides starring and producing, Mizner co-wrote the script.
“We knew we wanted to work together,” Mizner said.
“No Trespassing” was filmed over a nearly two day period in April at a “trashed” abandoned building behind the touristy Roy's Cafe in Amboy. Filmmakers can rent the entire town if needed, but they rented the one building.
“The condition of the building was pretty gross,” Mizner recalled. “It's been abandoned for about 15 years, you can still see old papers and books lying around.”
Lilly Harrison, who lives in south Torrance, plays the mother of one of the missing boys. Her one line in the film, “Please find my son.”
“Initially it was not speaking part, I understood that going into it,” Harrison said. “But I ended up having a line and it was so much fun.”
Harrison, who took the role in part to support local artists and filmmakers, said she was a late bloomer to acting. She worked in the corporate world in the entertainment industry for years, in production, but never in front of the camera, mainly because she was a single mother. She took acting classes, but in recent years has spent more time pursuing acting.
Being a mother, Harrison said the “part called to me.” When she shows a photo of her missing son in the short, Harrison said that was an older picture of her son, Derrick Sugimura.
Harrison said she had a terrific time filming.
“They are fantastic and I think there's more to come from them,” Harrison said.
When the film was finished, they submitted it to several film festivals and the Australian Independent Film Festival was the one that chose “No Trespassing” for competition.
Growing up in North Carolina, and after acting in high school plays, Mizner knew he wanted to be an actor. After studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
He landed a role in an American Express commercial last year, but like any working actor, he spends his days auditioning.
“I'm still waiting for the big break I guess,” Mizner said.