“RedLegs” introduces three friends who reunite in their hometown to bury their friend Ricky, who was killed in a violent mugging in a dangerous area of the city.
As the movie progresses, tension surrounds Marco, who left his friends and girlfriend on a whim to learn how to farm in preparation for the demise of civilization, and Wilbur, who's haunting secret nearly drives him over the edge.
”It's about three people who are dealing with the death of their friend and how they are trying to find a dynamic between them that no longer exists,” Harris said.
Harris and his crew worked on a low budget and filmed the movie in 16 days in the summer of 2010. The financial and time constraints, however, allowed them more freedom, as they didn't have time or money to worry about technicalities - or obeying the law.
“I have a lot of opinions on things, I might piss people off sometimes, rub people the wrong way, regardless, this movie came from a very heartfelt place,” Harris said. “We're really trying to make something that's authentically about male friendship, about loss, about grief and then on the periphery it's about these other issues that are tougher to talk about, like race and class and dying.”
Although race isn't what the movie focuses on, it plays into the story line as the film explores the different social classes that exist in present-day Cincinnati.
“I think it actually has a more unique perspective on these matters than most movies, because it's just acknowledging the fact of what it's like to live in America right now,” Harris said.
The four friends went to prep school together, after which Wilbur and Ricky continued tried to make their way in the city, Marco moved to a farm in Indiana, while the loud-mouthed Aaron went to college and became a parking lot tycoon.
“I don't think that any of them, maybe save Wilbur who's clearly slightly closer to Ricky, had a notion of what it's like to be a middle-class black kid among upper-class white kids,” Harris said.
The main tension point in the film revolves around how the three friends learn to deal with the loss of the fourth.
“How do we react to someone of our ilk dying?” Harris said. “And how does the way in which we perceive ourselves as individuals, as people, change how we view the death of others?”
In a wild weekend involving drugs, fighting and sex, the three each try to hide from their grief each in different ways, but eventually learn they can't escape it.
“RedLegs,” which refers to the Reds baseball team, involves many inside-Cincinnati jokes. For example, the gang plays golf frisbee, and drink milkshakes in a scene when the audience first gets to know the characters.
Harris said he knew he was foregoing acceptance into popular indie film festivals when he made the movie more relatable to Cincinnati residents, but it was important for him to give his audience a taste of what life is like there.
Although his next film is set to take place in New York City, Harris said he does intend to make more movies about his hometown, and hopes to become known as a director who represents Cincinnati.
“I want to make a movie that really gives you Cincinnati in a nutshell,” he said of his future plans. “Cincinnati is a place that obviously I have a huge attachment to. I think it has a pull on people in a way that most towns don't.”