Synerfest

David Kirst, in the middle wearing a white shirt, takes a photo with the cast and crew of his short film Karma at Sunset No. 2 at the Synerfest in Columbus, where the film won two awards.

MANSFIELD -- His short film earned two top awards at a national film festival. As far as David Kirst of 419 Productions is concerned, it's a win for the entire city of Mansfield.

Kirst wrote and created Karma at Sunset No. 2, which earned the best in show and popular vote awards at the recent Synerfest national film festival in Columbus.

With his third film project, Kirst focused close to home.

"I was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio," Kirst said. "All the people we used were from Mansfield, Ohio. They are all first-time actors and we shot the entire thing here."

Kirst described his film as a dramatic thriller with three murders after a man takes out an insurance policy for his wife.

"I really wanted to showcase Mansfield," he said. "I've done stuff in (Los Angeles) and we have everything that filmmakers need -- all four seasons, the highest tax incentives in the entire country and we have the second longest runway."

Kirst said it's the first of his films to be put into a film festival. Twelve short films were accepted into the event.

For his wife and first-time movie actress, LaTanya Kirst, the film festival was a thrill.

"We shot the film over two days," she said. "I had to go from being a sweet person, to being a killer. I kill two henchman and the husband. The whole process was fun, but I was also shocked that I could really do this."

The length of Kirst's film is 17 minutes, which the director said was a challenge.

"It's hard to get a beginning, a middle and an end in short stories," he said, comparing it to some of the films that ran in Columbus.

With the two awards, Kirst said he is speaking to production teams in LA, though he was unable to release details.

"This is a major win for 419 Productions, but it's also a big win for Mansfield and the film industry," he said.

Members of the cast and crew were all citizens of Mansfield, including Gary Cassady, David Kirst, Latanya Kirst, Jim Hedges, Ben Oswalt, Donald Beverly, April Vasquez, Michele Montova, Paul Todhunter, Tyler Todhunter, Jordan Todhunter, Kris Lieter, Doug McPeek, Mike Schrock, Mark Hammock and Mr. and Mrs. Bernie Fernandez and Mr. and Mrs. Mark Wilging.

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Staff Reporter

Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.