Sapulpa filmmaker dives into the suspense genre

A Sapulpan and his crew are stepping into the world of suspense films.

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“Thy Lordship” is a feature-length independent arthouse film being developed by writer, director, and editor D.C. Casto and a small team of Sapulpans. 

Casto began the writing process in late 2020 and finished early this year. They began working on the movie full-time at the end of June.

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The storyline follows the tumultuous relationship between a tenant and his landlord following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Featured character Trenton Noble, played by Raymond McClary, works from home in customer service and grows increasingly uncomfortable with his roommates.

He seeks shelter in a rental house in nearby Glenpool. There he crosses paths with landlord Lloyd Gatehouse, played by H. Levi Smiley. Their personalities immediately clash, and the plot thickens.

This film is described as a darkly comedic, psychological thriller, and densely packed with symbolism. It contains elements of mumblecore, noir, and surreal experimental film.

“Thy Lordship” has a script of 300 pages, a crew of three, and a shooting schedule that has surpassed 80 days.

“We’re Sapulpa Community Theater alumni and are working with mostly other locals,” Casto said. “My right-hand man on the project is Adrian Bailey, who is a local artist and recent Sapulpa High School graduate. He wears many hats on the project—1st AD, Prop Master, Boom Operator, and Mixer.”

Casto is not only the writer and director, but also a camera operator and editor. This is the first feature film created by the graduate of Central Tech’s video production program.

The two leads are also local, McClary is a Depew native who is a Sapulpa Community Theater alumni, and Smiley is a Sapulpa Community Theater superstar and lifetime Sapulpan.

They have filmed the majority of the production in Sapulpa, Casto said. About 80 to 85% of the movie was filmed on South Walnut Street.

Approximately 85% to 90% of the film has been shot, but Casto said a number of crucial sequences, fundamental to the story, require more intensive planning and production and have yet to be filmed.

“We’re looking to wrap up the production and we’re looking for a number of specific roles to do so. If anyone is interested, but has never acted before, we’d love to have them. Anyone wanting involvement in the project can reach out to me directly via dcc@thylordship.com,” said Casto. 

Thanks to assistance from Casto’s fiancée, Madison, the project has been self-funded so far. However, there is now a crowd-funding site via IndieGoGo with a goal of $20,000 to help pay for prosthetics, stunt sequences, numerous extras and locations, and a lengthy and heavy post production period to ensure that “Thy Lordship” is able to tell the encompassing, cohesive story that has been strived for thus far.

“We’re hoping to have the film wrapped up by Spring of next year,” Casto said. “There has been discussion about an exclusive premiere at Circle Cinema sometime that summer, but it’ll see release after making the rounds at the 2024 film festival circuit.”

The film should see some sort of streaming presence following distribution, he added.

Set photos from “They Lordship”