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      T.C. film vies for best picture award

      N orthern Michigan is a beautiful backdrop for the story of our lives. But a Traverse City film maker thought it would also be a great setting for part of the story he brought to life.

      David Marek wrote, produced, directed, and did just about everything else to bring us his film "Somewhere West." Those efforts are paying off with some big time reco gnition. The full length feature film is set to be screened this weekend at the Detroit International Film Festival. It's nominated for 10 awards, including best picture.

      The movie is emotional tale of a young man who is battling cancer. After it's discovered that the chemotherapy treatments didn't work, he hits the road to find, in Marek's words, "a beautiful place to spend his days." While it may sound like a depressing film, Marek's says it actually has a suprising amount of humor in it. He explores the interpersonal dynamics of the main character's relationships using an amazing natural landscape as his backdrop.

      Traverse City native Marek started the project while a graduate student at the University of Colorado. His love of road trips and emotional storytelling are reflected in "Somewhere West." Marek hit the road with a cast and crew of 9 people in a recreational vehicle, logging thousands of miles, writing, editing the script and rehearsing while cruising down the highway. Cast and crew moved from campground to campground, doing laundry and buying groceries along the way. Like most independent films, Marek relied on loans, small investors, credit cards, and two grants from the University of Colorado to cover production costs.

      Northern Michigan's viewers may find an awful lot of familiar sites in the movie. Almost a third of the feature takes place in Michigan, with a handful of shots from around Traverse City. Three local actors played roles in the movie and the music was composed by two Traverse City musicians.

      To watch the trailer for "Somewhere West" just click here.