Independent filmmaker Barry Worthington is about as homegrown as his latest “peach” of a movie. The 27-year-old has been a Gaithersburg resident since he was just over a year old. His film, “The Infinitely Generous Francis Victus,” premiered at Paragon Kentlands Stadium 10 on July 9. A mockumentary, the film centers on a small agricultural town called Victus. Worthington said the town “is flipped on its head while searching for the truth of its founder, Francis Victus,” the owner of a peach orchard who reportedly grows very delicious peaches and is supposedly responsible for how the town has flourished.
The first name of the film’s title character was chosen by Worthington for its gender neutrality. He said “the compass of the movie is that as it progresses, you’re realizing that some people don’t really know who Francis Victus was as much as they claimed to have known who he or she was, so the void of the character’s gender ends up being part of the comedy of the mysteriousness.”
Worthington attended Laytonsville Elementary, Gaithersburg Middle, and Gaithersburg High. He graduated from Towson University in 2010 with a degree in electronic media and film, the same year he established his production studio, Limitless Films, LLC. Three years later, he worked in Los Angeles for a year and attended UCLA Extension where he made his award-winning short film, “Hollywood Trash.” He moved to Dallas for several months and made another award-winning short film, “Sponge.” He returned to Gaithersburg in 2014 and the story idea for “Victus” was planted in his mind. After juggling his schedule and that of his all-volunteer cast and crew, his efforts came to fruition when he completed the editing process and “Victus” was ready to roll.
He continued his local connection by filming scenes in a variety of locations in the metro area, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, including parks, farms, the track at American University, the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood, and the library at the Sandy Spring Museum. “I loved working with the cooperation of the locations where we filmed. … These were places that meant a lot to me growing up here that I could use as the backdrop for a story I wanted to tell,” Worthington said.
Donning many talented hats, Worthington writes the scripts, composes the music, and selects the cast for his films, sometimes including himself, that he produces, directs and edits. For “Victus,” he is behind the camera acting as the documentarian, asking questions of the characters to determine how they have been affected by Francis Victus. In contrast to the handful of people that usually comprise Worthington’s teams, “Victus” required a large cast and crew. “We all became great friends and a community ourselves,” he said. “One thing that I cherish about this film is that it is about community, and it took a community to make it happen.”
Worthington, who is working on his master of fine arts degree at American University, is an adjunct film professor at Towson University, where he assists with internships for junior- and senior-level students; he is also an adjunct professor of film and art at Howard Community College, where he is “teaching mostly freshman students of all ages who are just beginning their discovery of film. It’s really incredible to have the opportunity to work with so many students at the different schools who are at very different stages of finding their filmmaking voice.” In addition to his own work, he said he has contributed “in all stages of production on films and television made by peers, colleagues and professionals.”
After students make films for his class, Worthington teaches them to submit their projects to film festivals, including niche festivals. “If in your heart you want to aim for the big festivals like Sundance, Cannes, etc., then go for it! But additionally, why not look for niche festivals that are specifically looking for films with themes that your film may encompass?” He added, “For this film, I’m doing exactly what I’ve encouraged my students to do.” “Victus” has been submitted to the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals in Park City, Utah, the Atlanta Film Festival, and an “orchard full” of niche festivals that center on the themes of community, agriculture, and peace. He also intends to submit “Victus” to the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore when the call for entries opens.
“I try to remain very open to where ideas can come from and how to go about bringing them to life. The idea for this film came to me a few years ago as I was moving back here and remembering all that I love about the area, particularly the sense of community. The idea was the value of community and understanding each other, which I learned while growing up here, being challenged,” Worthington said.
What’s on the horizon for him? He said he has many films “in the pipeline.” His next short film is a sci-fi piece tentatively titled, “Corrosion,” that should begin filming by the end of the summer. “Corrosion” is a follow-up to his film, “River Haven” that won the 2010 Accolade Competition. And sometime in the near future, he hopes to make a feature-length film.
“I think films can be a great way to connect with people and bring a sense of understanding to each other and the world around us,” Worthington said. “A new approach to filmmaking that ‘The Infinitely Generous Francis Victus’ taught me was that a sense of community can be created not just with the audience, but it can be created amongst the cast and crew as well.”
For the trailer and more information, visit www.limitlessfilms.com.
Update: “The Infinitely Generous Francis Victus” just won the Award of Recognition at the The Best Shorts Award Competition in La Jolla, Calif.