The cornfields of Harford County are more than just crops, they're soon-to-be home to an independent "supernatural thriller," according to the film's director.
Writer and director David Warfield grew up in Forest Hill then moved to Los Angeles for "several years" before returning home four years ago.
The "micro-budget" movie, "ROWS" is in the pre-production stage, but Warfield hopes it will be completed and ready to submit to film festivals by March, if not sooner.
The storyline follows a young girl, Rose, who has to deliver an eviction notice to an elderly woman whose house helps secure her immortality. The elderly woman then places Rose and her friend, Greta, under a spell where they become trapped in an endless cornfield.
"Rose is the hero," Warfield, 49, said. "She has to figure out how to break that spell."
The spell also includes a series of "supernatural" and "surreal" events in what Warfield referred to as a "psychological thriller," comparing it to "The Sixth Sense" and "Paranormal Activity."
Warfield is holding auditions for the movie and hopes to make a formal announcement sometime next week. Although he brought in people from Los Angeles and New York to do some work and acting, he said he is trying to use local talent as well.
"We have seen some great local people," he said.
Harford Community College, which he called "fantastic," has also loaned the production group space to hold the auditions.
While he has been home, Warfield realized that the cornfields spread throughout the county are a "great filming location."
"If God gives you corn," he said, "[you] make a cornfield movie."
Warfield also said he had grown up on a farm and that inspired the movie, leading him to ask himself, "What kind of story can I film here?" The only downside to using local cornfields, mainly in Forest Hill where he lives, he said, is there is a small window of time to film.
With cornfields reaching their peak height in mid-July and starting to brown in mid-August, Warfield said, it limits the amount of time they can film to around three weeks. Even now, he added, the lack of rain is inhibiting the process, and they are waiting for the stalks to get just a little bit taller.
His main goal with "ROWS," Warfield said, is to make something that "will thrill an audience." At this point he is not looking to make any type of profit, but just to be accepted into local film festivals, including the Maryland Film Festival, and to simply make a "good movie."
In addition to time spent in Los Angeles, Warfield's background includes writing and director credits on "Ocean Park," "Linewatch" and a documentaries for The History Channel. He has also taught courses at Loyola University and Dickinson College in Pennsylvania over the past four years, as well as a course atUniversity of Maryland Baltimore County.
Warfield also writes a weekly film column for Baltimore-based http://www.whatweekly.com.
"I guess I'm technically a screenplay expert of some kind," he said.
Despite his time in California, Warfield said his movie will be different from typical Hollywood movies. Independent films, especially out of Baltimore, he added, are usually "unusual" and "original." His in particular is "eerie" but not scary in a bloody sense.
"I don't think it's been done before," he said, of "ROWS."
"I do think the story is quite original."