Stark County film explores inequalities between male and female runners


PLAIN TWP. – Patty Lovell began to think about life after retiring at 62.

The work of educator and librarian had been rewarding. Her volunteer work with Stark County’s Girls on the Run was also important.

And the avid runner had completed numerous marathons, including the Boston one, as well as half marathons.

But the Plain Township resident hadn’t fully explored and channeled her interest in creative writing. She had written drafts of novels but did not continue editing. And she had written several draft scripts.

“I only started writing motion pictures two years ago,” Lovell said. “I think the only thing that’s really stopping anything is that you put in the effort to make it happen.

“When you’re 62 and friends and family pass away, that definitely energizes you.”

Patty Lovell, from Plain Township, presents her short film, "Miles to go," at the Lions Lincoln Theater in Massillon.

Lovell therefore embarked on a short film, “Miles to Go”, inspired by her own experiences of running while noting the inequalities between men and women who jog for recreation and fitness or who run. in competition.

Lovell has been a screenwriter, director and producer.

The approximately nine-minute film culminated with a private screening for family and friends on June 10 at the Lions Lincoln Theater in Massillon.

Male and female runners

“Miles to Go” infuses drama and humor, Lovell said.

The moments of lightness touch on food cravings, bathroom breaks, fitness clothing, safety, fitness goals, physical appearance and the stresses of everyday life, while contrasting these issues from a perspective. of a woman versus a man. Overall, however, the short retains a serious tone.

“I wanted this to be a subtle, but not judgmental, approach to the differences between a running man and a woman,” Lovell said. “And you always get a better reaction if you can put in a little humor.”

“Because I am a runner, I remember getting up at 4 am before going to teach,” she added.

“… I should be able to do this, but people would tell me you should never run alone, especially in the dark.”

Chad Harris, left, and Josh Branch are working on the set of "Miles to go," a short film created by Patty Lovell of Plain Township.

Former English teacher

A native of Canton and a graduate of GlenOak High School, Lovell taught high school English for eight years, including four years at GlenOak.

After earning her Masters of Library Science from Kent State University, she worked as a librarian for GlenOak High School and then Marlington High School.

In 2010, Lovell started Girls on the Run of Stark County and served as director for five years. The group’s goal is to inspire young girls to be happy, healthy and confident while creatively incorporating running into the program.

She is married to John Lovell II, who teaches biological sciences at the Stark campus of Kent State University.

Modest expectations

With the help of Josh Branch, the video production instructor and district media coordinator of GlenOak High School, Lovell completed “Miles to Go,” which she would like to enter at the Cleveland International Film Festival, as well as the festivals for beginners.

The film is not yet available to audiences online, Lovell said.

“As some of the film festivals I submitted the film to don’t even let you know until March 2022, I can’t release the film,” she explained.

Lovell, however, plans to post the film on YouTube in the future.

She admitted to being afraid to show the film, even with her family and friends.

But “the real test is to sit down with people who don’t know me or the participants and gauge the reactions.” And “if I made another movie, I would try to get a focus group to watch a version of my movie before the final cut.”

“You have to do the first one, and you learn so much,” she said of her short film. “And if he comes in (a film festival), fine.”

“Let’s face it, this is not an academy award-winning film performance,” Lovell admitted. “It’s just something I wanted to do.”

"Miles to go," an approximately nine-minute short by Patty Lovell of Plain Township was unveiled to the public during a private screening earlier this month at the Lions Lincoln Theater in Massillon.

GlenOak Connection

Branch and Lovell were introduced to each other by a mutual friend.

Branch took care of all technical aspects of the project, including filming, editing, lighting and audio.

The self-funded film was made for $ 5,000 and shot in County Stark for four days last year before editing was completed in May, Lovell said. Filming locations included Middle Branch Trail, which is part of Stark Parks.

"Miles to go," a short film by Patty Lovell of Plain Township was screened at a private screening earlier this month at the Lions Lincoln Theater in Massillon.  Lovell, 62, is a retired educator who hopes to show the film at beginner festivals.

Two of Branch’s alumni worked closely on the project: DJ Donald, 2017 GlenOak graduate, and Brandon Young, 2015 GlenOak graduate, who served as associate editor.

“My role was to translate Patty’s concept and vision into a tangible product through the process of making a movie,” said Branch, a Hoover High School graduate. “I wanted to stay true to her story and make sure we could share this message with others.

DJ Donald, Deputy Director of "Miles to go," and Anna Marsick, an actress featured in the short, is working on the set for County Stark. "Miles to go" was presented at a vernissage in June at the Lions Lincoln Theater in Massillon.

Branch said it was fun working with Lovell on his first film project.

“I think the finished product is an entertaining and relatable story that, while being light-hearted, hints at an ugly reality that countless female athletes face,” said Branch, who has worked on documentary projects at Mexico, Russia, Australia and Uganda through Faith. Biblical Church in County Stark.

“The film shows how many things I take for granted as a man, even something as simple as going out for a run in the morning,” said Branch, also a former videographer for Goodyear. “I think Patty was able to accomplish an incredible dichotomy in the film, showing the seriousness of a real world problem and yet able to keep the film short and fun.

“… I am proud of our work on this film and the message it conveys.”

‘You better do it now’

Even if his first film is not the subject of a festival, Lovell especially hopes that “Miles to Go” inspires others to pursue goals long delayed or blocked.

“I’ve always encouraged trying new things, no matter how old you are,” she said. “As you get older there isn’t much time left, so you better do it now.

“That’s the most important thing. If you think you have all the time in the world and can do it later, you’re wrong… because life can change so quickly.”

Contact Ed at 330-580-8315 and [email protected]

on Twitter @ebalintREP


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