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Dark karma hangs over ‘Pyramid Highway’
by Cortney Maddock
Apr 24, 2008 | 1434 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy/Bar Fly Productions
Courtesy/Bar Fly Productions
When northern Nevadans think of Pyramid Highway, it is often considered just a long, sometimes dangerous stretch of road between Sparks and Pyramid Lake.

For filmmaker and producer Katie Ishoy, Pyramid Highway becomes the enforcer of karma in her locally made, independent film of the same name. “Pyramid Highway” will premier Saturday at Club Underground.

“The movie is basically about karma — bad karma,” Ishoy said. “It’s a very dark movie.”

Ishoy explained that “Pyramid Highway” is about a wife and mother who is failing at being both. It is karma that eventually gets to the character of Carly Heck and gives her what she deserves.

“It’s about a bad mom and watching her downward spiral,” Ishoy said. “(Carly Heck) is the anti-hero. You wait for her to wake up.”

Unwilling to give specifics about the project that she has been overwhelmingly devoted to for the past two years, Ishoy coyly keeps the plot as wrapped up as possible.

“We go as dark as you can go,” Ishoy said. “It’s pretty raw and emotional.”

Ishoy explained that Heck’s problems stem from drugs, alcohol and sex, and that her objective was to portray the subject matter truthfully. Still, Ishoy will admit that it isn’t all heavy subject matter and that there are moments of comedy.

“It’s definitely an art film,” Ishoy said.

But, she cautioned, the film is not family friendly.

Ishoy said that there is an unexpected twist that will shock audience members and that the people who have seen the movie have had positive reactions to it.

“Everybody has absolutely loved it,” Ishoy said. “There’s a twist at the end that you absolutely don’t see.”

“Pyramid Highway” has been in the works for more than two years. Ishoy knew she wanted to be serious about the story that grabbed her attention and officially founded her production company Bar Fly Productions in November 2006, after holding casting auditions.

In addition to being filmed in Reno, Sparks and Fernley, most of the “Pyramid Highway” cast members are from the area. Ishoy said that she found her actors from Internet postings on Craigslist and MySpace and that the character of Carly Heck, played by Monica Booth, of Carson City, was serendipitous.

“She had never acted before in her life,” Ishoy said. “She was our first audition and as soon as she opened her mouth, I said, ‘That’s it, that’s her.’ “

With a mix of seasoned actors and newcomers to the profession, Ishoy said Booth was able to shine as the tormented Carly Heck.

“Everything was meant to be,” Ishoy said about her good karma.

By this point, Ishoy should set up a bank account to keep track of her good karma.

“I had no idea how I was going to do it,” Ishoy said about making the movie. “It took my life savings but the expense was worth it.”

Ishoy explained that she paid her actors and paid for their hotel stays if they were commuting from Northern California. She was also able to get help from local law enforcement, who let her borrow a Lyon County cop car, and a bar owner who let them film without disrupting business. The only disruption to the filming came from a bar patron which, Ishoy said with a laugh, led to a Lyon County officer finally having to calm the man down.

“Pyramid Highway” is not only a first for its lead actress, it will also be a Nevada first.

“It’s the first feature-length independent film made in Nevada by Nevada filmmakers,” Ishoy said.

“It’s so bizarre,” Ishoy said of all the luck she’s had. “It’s like the universe moved around the making of this movie.”

After Saturday’s premier, Ishoy said she is going to market the movie in hopes of getting a distribution deal.

“Our plan is to have the premier help pay for a screening in Los Angeles,” she said.

In addition to viewing “Pyramid Highway” Saturday night, premier goers can stick around to see the band The Devil Himself and singer Chantelle Tibbs perform. Both artists contributed music to the film.

To attend the premier, tickets are $15 and must be purchased in advance. There will not be any ticket sales at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the premier starts at 7 p.m. This is a 21-and-over event. Tickets can be purchased at where there is also a short trailer for the film.

Club Underground is at 555 East Fourth St. in Reno.
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