Nostalgic Teen Drama Escaping Ohio to Have World Premiere at Dances With Films
Jessica Michael Davis and Collin Kelly-Sordelet in Escaping Ohio

Jessica Michael Davis’s heart-string-tugging indie romance Escaping Ohio will have its world premiere at Dances With Films.

On Saturday, July 1 at 7:15 p.m., Escaping Ohio will screen at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theaters during the 26th anniversary of Dances With Films:LA.

The emotionally charged, nostalgic teen drama was written, directed by, and stars Davis alongside co-writer Collin Kelly-Soredelet (Wildling), Emily Bergl (Shameless), and Adam Pascal (Rent). MovieMaker proudly supports Escaping Ohio through MovieMaker Production Services.

What Is Escaping Ohio About?

Escaping Ohio follows Sam (Davis), an 18-year-old high school senior who has to choose between staying in her hometown of Akron, Ohio with JJ (Kelly-Sordelet), the boy she loves, or leaving him behind to strike out for California. 

Fun fact: Davis is actually from Akron.

She infused Escaping Ohio not only with her hometown’s spirit, but with all the tropes of classic teen movies: the “yup, that’s me” voiceover; the will-they-won’t-they best-friend dynamic; the pop song montages; the heartwrenching airport scene. But Escaping Ohio subverts the genre in at least one major way: It isn’t focused on the happily ever after. 

“I never wanted the romance,” Davis told MovieMaker in a feature for one of our recent print issues. “I wanted myself.”

Bergl produced the film alongside Davis and Kelly-Sordelet in association with Todd Slater of Convoke Media (King of Killers).

“Jessica Michael Davis truly took this one on and has been the catalyst behind it. She is one of the young drivers of the female filmmaker movement,” Slater said.

Dances With Films

It’s a great fit for Dances With Films (DWF:LA), which was chosen by USA Today in 2020 as one of the top 10 film festivals in North America. Founded in 1998, DWF:LA is dedicated to making opportunities and launching the careers of talented emerging artists. DWF:LA alumni include Bryan Cranston (2000); Gina Rodriguez (2010); Jesse Eisenberg (2007); Ellen Pompeo (2003); Ryan Eggold (2010) and John Hawkes (2003).

You can order tickets to the world premiere of Escaping Ohio here.