Uyen Le had not taken six steps Tuesday before becoming part of Beaufort’s interconnected cast.
A car crawled down Port Republic Street, a friend shouting a greeting from an open window to Le and her husband, VW Scheich.
“See? People don’t do that in LA,” Le said, crossing the intersection of West Street outside the couple’s apartment.
Le and Scheich will screen their movie, “Interwoven,” on Thursday at the 10th-annual Beaufort International Film Festival. In the film, 13 lives come together based on true stories told by actors during the casting call.
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Mo’nique, who won an Oscar for her supporting role in “Precious,” is the star.
Le and Scheich moved to Beaufort last year from Los Angeles, where Scheich worked as a production coordinator for movies like "Spider-Man 3" and "Superbad" and as a director's assistant for "Herbie Fully Loaded" and "Stuart Little 2." His movie "Wallenda" won best short film at the 2013 Beaufort International Film Festival.
Attending that festival sold the filmmakers on the idea of moving from Hollywood to Beaufort, a decision questioned by every resident the couple meets.
“I always tell them the same thing: Beaufort is not a small town, it’s a big movie studio lot,” Scheich said. “After a while you see the same characters from the same shops and build relationships.”
Beaufort is not a small town, it’s a big movie studio lot. After a while you see the same characters from the same shops and build relationships.
VW Scheich, filmmaker
The impetus for moving to the Lowcountry was to film a comedy, trusting the area’s rich cinematic history to fund the project through pre-sales of DVDs and downloads.
The financial support didn’t come together and advanced purchases were refunded. But the filmmakers feel another backer is close to funding the movie, tabbed “Basement Bob.”
In the meantime, Le and Scheich will travel. Festivals screening Interwoven await in Richmond, Va.; Durango, Colo.; Atlantic City, N.J.; Ocala, Fla.
Their open-concept loft downtown is home, a base for Scheich and Le to meet seemingly everyone in Beaufort.
There’s the regular group at Emily’s Restaurant, responsible for the growing wine collection in a corner cooler. The staff at Breakwater remember names and greet warmly. Old Bull Tavern threw a Mardi Gras-themed event this week, replete with masks and beads and a food drive. Saltus hosted a birthday dinner.
Le and Scheich are admitted rolling stones. She is an entertainment attorney and he specializes in visual effects, both able to work remotely as heads of Rareform Pictures.
They talk of one day moving to Asia or Europe.
“I think this was never going to be a long-term thing,” Scheich said of Beaufort. “It’s project-oriented.”
Then again, the couple has heard the pluff mud might grab them for good.
During the move from LA, few personal items survived the purge. A house plant made it but Le’s beloved peach tree had to stay behind. A circus poster covers an entire living room wall.
Conversation pieces dot the loft.
A restored unicycle against one wall belonged to Scheich’s father, Vaclav, who performed a high-wire act in the circus. Scheich doesn’t ride the keepsake, but he does use another unicycle chained upside down on the steps to the apartment.
He learned to ride in middle school. Pedaling down Carteret Street one day, a car of young people stopped and asked to Snapchat his ride.
While Scheich and Le were dating, he learned of her love of the television show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and scored a box of props from a friend on the set. A mummified hand, part of an episode in which the characters relive events over and over, now sits on the shelf. Its glass enclosure was a gift from the wedding registry.
A framed movie posted bears their movie’s original title, “About,” which Mo’Nique’s camp suggested be changed. The name was a nod to the central question in Interwoven: What is life about?
The filmmakers hope everyone finds a story with a personal connection.
Le found a few.
A scene with brothers cooking in the kitchen harkened back to her own sibling rivalry of who could craft the best dish. In another scene, a character burns incense in a Buddhist ceremony to remember a loved one, a ritual in which Le’s family also participated.
A young woman receives a call from her father, telling her he has late-stage cancer. After the movie was made, Le received the same call from her father.
“Everyone is dealing with something,” Le said.
If you go
What: “Interwoven,” screening at Beaufort International Film Festival.
When: 4:15 p.m.
Where: USC Beaufort Center for the Arts
Admission: $6, available through www.beaufortfilmfestival.com.