Windi Robinson decided to take after her parents and make a career in the film industry, work that led her from her native Alabama to Atlanta.
Now, after 30 years in the industry, she’s returned to her home state to direct and produce her first major movie, On Places Thin, at her farm in Delta.
“I wanted a smaller film to deal with and film something on my farm,” she said. “Once I came up with an idea, my imagination took it to another level.”
On Places Thin, Robinson says, is a supernatural thriller centered around a woman and her two children who return home to their family’s farm to take care of the mothers’ ailing aunt. Their return opens up a veil that merges the past and present.
“The aunt is telling the family about the land and before she tells them about all the strange things going on, she dies,” Robinson said. “Then the land comes alive and supernatural powers are activated.”
Robinson began her journey in the entertainment industry after she graduated from Gardendale High School in 1987.
“I started doing Coca-Cola commercials in 1988,” she said. “My parents made me earn my own way. So I did.”
The second-generation filmmaker said she chose to work in film because she’s always loved entertainment and loves the idea of telling stories. Her father worked in transportation in the film industry, and her mother worked for films’ art departments. Robinson said being in the entertainment industry can be a hard life for those who don’t do it right and aren’t dedicated.
“I started off as a singer,” Robinson said. “But I wanted to do this because I’ve always been around it. And I want to share something that touches people in some way.”
Robinson finished writing On Places Thin around August 2017 and released a trailer in November. She said she put forth $15,000 toward the shooting of the film and investors committed $20,000 more. Robinson said she is currently pursuing more funding for post-production, marketing and distribution.
On Places Thin, is also filming some scenes in Roanoke and at Jacksonville’s Longleaf Studios.
Longleaf is a digital media center that was established through the Northeast Alabama Entertainment Initiative.
“The first audition was at Longleaf Studio,” Robinson said. “They have provided us with more equipment, let us use the green screens, and instrumentals.”
Equipment isn’t the only thing that Longleaf is lending out to Robinson’s production. Studio director Pete Conroy said a few Longleaf associates are working on the film.
Robinson said she’s thankful for everything Longleaf has done to help.
“I couldn’t have gotten it done without them,” Robinson said. “It takes a cooperative team to get the job done. If I can do anything to help them out, I would.”
Robinson continues to live and work in Atlanta, where she’s now working on a pilot for an HBO series. But filming On Places Thin has led her to consider doing more projects in Alabama because of the small-town scenery.
“I normally work in Georgia, but I’m going to bring more films this way,” Robinson said. “You have to travel two hours in Atlanta to find a town that looks like a small-town. But it’s all right here. I just love the area.”
On Places Thin is set to wrap up filming later this year, Robinson said. She hopes it will be ready for release early in 2019.