Santa Clarita native Griffin Loch, 17, said being born into a family who loved movies definitely helped him along.
And it was only natural for him to become a filmmaker, he said, as he prepared for last weekend’s premiere of his third feature-length film “A Spark in Nothing.”
The film, which premiered on three screens at Laemmle Theaters in Newhall and Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School, was a three-year project Loch began in 2018 before being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It took such a long time to make because of the pandemic,” Loch said. “Everyone was enduring challenges; my family lost a close friend in the beginning (of the pandemic) so this movie is dedicated to that family friend, everyone who lost someone.”
“A Spark in Nothing” is the third of Loch’s four films he hopes to release before his 18th birthday in February and is by far his most accomplished.
The two-and-a-half-hour film follows a guardian angel who takes a boy into two different realities based on a life-changing decision he is set to make. “The film is meant to show how we are constantly making decisions and how those decisions affect our life,” Loch said.
Loch recalls making short films for his birthday each year, something that became a tradition in the family when he was 5 years old. Once Loch turned 9, he decided to break away from the birthday films and begin his own independent filmmaking journey. For the next three years, Loch would write and direct films with friends and family before challenging himself to take filmmaking to the next level: make a feature-length film.
“I knew my next step was to make a feature-length film, but I needed to set a goal,” Loch said. “So, my family and I sat down and made it a goal to create four films by the time I turned 18. My first experiment with this goal was to just create a movie and see if I could follow a cohesive storyline. We had a crew of three people and a 14-year-old director and we made it happen.”
It was after the completion of his first film Loch decided to take his next in a different direction. He said he wanted to add a “socially conscious” message and after a classmate attempted suicide, he knew he wanted to create an adventure movie, titled “The Adventure of Teepee Man and Flusher,” around teenage mental health.
“I knew I wanted to bring light to the subject, and I knew I wanted it to be a friendship story,” Loch said. “I didn’t want it to be uncomfortable for people to watch. My goal was to make it where people walked away and feel as though they can discuss these topics.”
Loch’s third movie, “A Spark in Nothing,” was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Loch said he saw several other artistic youths struggle to find an outlet as the county went under the stay-at-home order. That was when Loch had the idea to create a contest for any youth to join for the chance to win a cash prize — all they had to do was submit a movie poster for the movie.
“During the pandemic, (my family and I) leaned more into the film,” said Loch. “A lot of the artistic youth didn’t have an artistic output during that time since school and community events were canceled. It was breathtaking to see how many people sent in their art and I wish I could’ve picked them all as winners.”
Now as Loch is preparing to premiere “A Spark in Nothing,” he also is working on his next film in his family’s secluded cabin in Humbolt County, nine months before his 18th birthday, where he said he want to expand his filmmaking to include new genres he’s never worked on before.
“It’s nice to get away from the noise,” he said. “Here, I’m completely cut off from everything and everyone. For the next movie I’m sort of working on establishing myself as a director and taking a new route for this movie. I’ve mostly done adventure and romance movies, but now I’m working on more of a psychological thriller.”
Loch said he’s excited to return to the SCV for the premiere of “A Spark in Nothing” and said he plans to continue filmmaking in the near future.
“If this past year has shown us anything, it’s that the future is unpredictable and nothing is set in stone,” Loch said. “I’m going to continue with these films, give the fourth one all I got, then move into the unknown.”
The movie trailer can be watched via YouTube at https://bit.ly/2QHozGw.