Humboldt is due for some fresh ‘n local indie cinema. It’s time! This time, it’s coming from 17-year-old Griffin Loch, whose A Spark In Nothing was shot largely in Humboldt and will soon be released at a (drive-in) theater near you, if you live near Eureka, which is likely, we figure!
Loch is 17 and has already pretty much dedicated his life to writing and directing films. On a budget of $30,000 and clad in suit and tie all along the way, he spent the last couple of years writing, directing and editing A Spark In Nothing, which was filmed in Humboldt and Santa Clarita.
With a fantastical twist, A Spark In Nothing traces the impact of choosing one life path or the other. It will screen drive-in style on July 9 at Redwood Acres, gates at 7:30 p.m.
A Spark In Nothing — which has been accepted into two film festivals — is actually Loch’s third feature-length film. He credits his parents for his early and successful start. “I was born into a family of cinephiles,” he said. His parents have experience in the industry, and, in their household, movie posters paper the walls and film is a dinner-table topic more often than not. His parents “saw that filmmaking spark right in the beginning,” Loch said. “They saw little Griffin with the camera, and they’ve taken that so, so graciously with open arms and have carried that through my entire life.”
After testing the waters with his friends by making short films and documentaries from age 9 to 12 — “nothing fantastic came out of those three years,” Loch noted with a laugh — he sat down with his parents and mapped out his entire adolescence, which, the three agreed, would culminate in four feature-length films by the time he turns 18. “It’s been kind of a family venture of making these films together,” Loch said.
They began with Calling the Shots, a film about a young teen who witnesses a murder and wrongfully becomes a suspect, for which Loch and his parents served as the entire crew.
“That was the first film, just to really see if it was possible,” Loch said. And it was! For his next film, he “didn’t want to just make another thing. I wanted something that would speak to my generation within the picture,” he said. The Adventure of T.P. Man and Flusher, which is about two best friends who embark on a crazy night of mischief and explores teen depression and suicide, which Loch felt was underdiscussed when he started working on that script.
For his third feature, which eventually became A Spark In Nothing, Loch wanted once again to deliver a meaningful message. “We could always use more love and hope, every day,” Loch, a wise fellow, said. Although many in his cast and crew are adults, all of his productions so far have relied heavily on young minds.
“It’s very exciting being able to bring on people that I’m close to, that are the same age, same generation,” he said. “Youth that are all excited about the film, excited about filmmaking, excited about art.”
A Spark In Nothing is the first of Loch’s films to feature areas of Humboldt. He’s from Santa Clarita, but has familial roots — specifically, the eccentric Tom “The Great” Razooly — in Humboldt. He grew up visiting the area every school break and every summer, and ended up writing and editing most of his films during those visits. Griffin, who completed high school in two years, moved here full-time with his parents because of the pandemic.
“I always wanted to make a film that really covered the beauty of Humboldt County,” he said. From script (Loch’s preferred word processor is a typewriter: “You’re literally pounding the ink into the page!”) to set, seeing his Humboldt-inspired story come to life in Humboldt was a long-awaited and special experience.
“I loved it so much,” Loch said. “The community is so incredible with everything that they did, and all the doors they opened, and lending their own personal time. It’s just fantastic and something you can’t really truly get from such a big city.”
Loch plans to wrap up his teenage years with one more feature-length film of the supernatural thriller genre, which will be shot entirely in Humboldt, so stay tuned.
Scroll for photos from the production.