Adam Pascal (Rent) is set to star alongside Emily Bergl (Shameless) and Collin Kelly-Sordelet (Radium Girls) in Escaping Ohio, the feature directorial debut of Jessica Michael Davis, the production announced Thursday.

The indie coming-of-age romance, which has wrapped production, follows best friends Sam, played by Jessica Michael Davis, and JJ, played by Collin Kelly-Sordelet, as they explore parts of Ohio as JJ tries to convince Sam that their small town is worth sticking around for. 

BEscaping Ohio by Jessica Michael Davisergl and Pascal will play Renee and Rick Posey, Sam’s parents. The film reunites Bergl with Kelly-Sordelet, who was in her cast for the Tony-winning play The Ferrymen. The ensemble cast also includes Carolyn Kang (Awkwafina is Nora from Queens) and Alexandria Benford (FBI). 

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Escaping Ohio is based on the short film of the same name, which premiered at the Montclair Film Festival in October 2021. Davis also won Best Director from the Blackbird Film Festival. Bergl produced the feature, along with the short film’s original creators, Davis and Kelly-Sordelet. 

Davis also wrote the film, which was filmed in her hometown of Akron and is loosely inspired by her life. It showcases some of her most beloved locations in Northeast Ohio. The film was supported by the Greater Cleveland Film Commission and the Sundance Institute’s Co//ab program. It is also backed by our own MovieMaker Production Services.

Pascal’s other credits include School of Rock, and he most recently appeared on Marvel’s Hawkeye. He is repped by Innovative Artists and GEF Entertainment. Bergl’s other credits include Gilmore Girls, Desperate Housewives, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She is repped by Innovative Artists and ThrulineEntertainment.

Escaping Ohio also represents another laurel for the thriving Ohio film scene: Cleveland and Cincinnati are both among MovieMaker‘s Best Places to Live and Work as a MovieMaker, and have drawn major recent projects: Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All shot in Cleveland, and Noah Baumbach’s White Noise in Cincinnati. We also wrote recently about the cinematic rise of the state capital, Columbus, home of the buzzy releases Poser and They/Them/Us.

Main image: Adam Pascal and Emily Bergl, stars of Escaping Ohio, directed by Jessica Michael Davis.