Cape native co-directs Thanksgiving-related indie film, 'Drinksgiving'

Friday, November 17, 2017
Characters Jake and Sarah are shown in a scene from the independent film "Drinksgiving."
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In that threshold between being not quite a child and not quite an adult, there's "Drinksgiving," the feature-film directing debut of Matt Olmon and Cape Girardeau native Bart Elfrink.

"It's the night before Thanksgiving, get together with friends from college, get crazy drunk," Elfrink said, then "spend Thanksgiving hung over. That's the concept."

But the movie is about a woman, Sarah, played by Missouri native Pamela Mitchell, who stayed in her hometown after college. She has a party to show off her new house to her old friends.

"Things get a little weird," Elfrink said.

"Drinksgiving" is an independent film, feature length. F-Bomb Productions' Lainee Frizzo and John Forrest co-wrote and were executive producers. Mitchell and Elfrink were producers in addition to their other duties with the film.

Jake, a character in the independent film "Drinksgiving," is shown dancing during a party scene.
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To her, Mitchell said, it was particularly important to put together a film about coming of age and partying from a woman's perspective.

"It is a lovely party film about a woman going through a transitional period in her life, figuring out where she belongs," Mitchell said, "capturing the stress and beauty of it."

"We've seen movies with girls going on trips and partying together, but we wanted to show a female party host trying her best to put on this event, however slapdash it is, and bring people together ... and what a hassle it can be," Frizzo said in a news release.

As to how the film was developed, co-director and producer Elfrink said a lot of people and projects came together to make it happen.

Another short film, "Innards," was a 2013 horror story Elfrink worked on and Mitchell starred in. Elfrink said it was pretty well received at festivals and won a few awards. Then when he volunteered at Sundance Film Festival one year, producer Forrest talked about a concept he had and an idea for a prequel that would be easier to make.

Directors Matt Olmon and Bart Elfrink make notes on the script for "Drinksgiving."
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Co-director Olmon said he, Forrest and Elfrink had tried pitching ideas but kept hitting a roadblock: no experience in making a feature film.

So, Olmon said, "We decided we needed to ... stop asking other people to do it and just do it on our own."

Mitchell essentially did a lot of the casting in Los Angeles, where she lives, and the talent flew into St. Louis, then traveled to Alton, Illinois, where Elfrink lives with his wife and their two children.

Shooting the film in Alton provided several advantages, not least of which were access to film equipment and experienced crew members who were thrilled to be part of the venture.

Mitchell said this film was the first main thing she's cast and called herself "extremely lucky to work with really ridiculously talented people."

Directors Matt Olmon and Bart Elfrink film a scene from the independent film "Drinksgiving."
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Mitchell said she and Elfrink met as cast members in a River City Players production in Cape Girardeau about 10 years ago and had kept in touch over the years through social media.

When he posted about "Innards," Mitchell said she'd love to be involved, and working together again seemed like a natural step.

Olmon said "Drinksgiving" was shot in 2015, and post-production work took a couple of years to complete.

Olmon added the $35,000 budget could be stretched much further in Alton than in L.A.

"We shot at a bar in downtown Alton," Olmon said, "and the question wasn't 'How much money?' -- it was, 'When do you want me to shut down the bar for you?'"

Characters Mandy and Chuck are shown in a party scene from the independent film "Drinksgiving."
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Olmon, who originally is from Ohio, said the camaraderie behind putting the show together was wonderful, "like a potluck feel -- 'What can we bring?'"

As far as the crew goes, Elfrink said, "I worked fairly steadily in the St. Louis area with the best people in the area up here. ... It just kind of fell in place, and I feel really grateful for everyone who helped out."

"Drinksgiving" is available on Amazon, YouTube Movies, iTunes and various other streaming or subscription video-on-demand websites, and on-demand systems, including Comcast, Direct TV and Dish, through Gravitas Ventures independent film distributor.

In early 2018, the film will be available on services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Find the crew on Facebook and Twitter and at the "Drinksgiving" official site,

Directors Matt Olmon and Bart Elfrink are shown filming for the independent film "Drinksgiving" in Alton, Illinois.
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