The Beautiful Horror of Creation: Rogue Valley Filmmaker Mig Windows
It is not a logical extension that a wedding photo and event planning service would birth a film company that makes horror films. Or, perhaps it sounds like a plot from a horror film itself, a wedding that turns to gore.
But that is, somewhat, how ROW 211 came about.
Mig Windows is a local filmmaker and long-time Ashland resident. She co-created the film production company ROW 211 Films with her colleagues: Daniel Rester, Rory and Angelica Owens, and Windows herself, a creative endeavor that grew out of the Owens’s wedding photo and event planning service after that crew produced a horror film called I Never Can; it was part of the portfolio that didn’t quite fit comfortably amidst the wedding photos on the Owens’s photography website.
“So we were talking about it and were like, ‘Should we start a production company that’s separate from the wedding videos, and the events and stuff that we do?’ and I was like ‘Yeah, that’s a great idea!’” says Windows. “So we sat around and were like, ‘Okay well, let’s come up with a name!’ and that took forever. We kept coming up with names and finding out they were already taken, or they were punk bands from the 80s, or they were the names of children’s books or something. So we decided on ROW 211, and of course it’s led to everyone asking ‘what does ROW 211 mean?’ ROW is our initials, which are Rester, for Daniel Rester, O for Rory and Angelica Owens, and then W for Mig Windows, and then 211 is because all of us have birthdays in February, except for Angelica whose birthday is in November.” ROW 211 films officially launched in 2016—and since then Windows has been busy.
Recently, Windows starred in two films featured at the Killer Valley Horror Film Festival in November: Do I Scare You? (for which she won a Best Actress Award) and I Never Did, the third installment in the I Never trilogy, which has been featured at the festival in previous years. Additionally, Windows will be appearing in Magic Owl Media’s upcoming film Rowanhood. And like any dedicated artist, Windows’s work continues. Recently, she and her company set out to fund Emma Was Here, a film that deals with the topic of death with dignity.
Windows comments: “What we found, it was kind of interesting, was that people seemed to really respond to the message of the film, which is about this young woman. She’s trying to decide whether she should end her life with death with dignity because she has terminal brain cancer. We look at death with dignity in a compassionate way. It isn’t overtly political, but it is a big main theme in the movie. And people seemed to respond really well to the fact that the movie is about such an important subject, especially to Oregonians, and that it has four female leads, and they just really seemed to like the concept trailer that we put together. They responded really well to the subject itself.”
The effort has been funded through Seed&Spark, a relatively obscure crowd-funding website for film and television creators. Production for Emma Was Here begins in February, and is written and directed by Daniel Rester, with Windows starring and producing.
To aspiring filmmakers, young and old, Windows offers this piece of advice: “There’s certainly something to be said about just going out there and shooting something, or just writing something, or just getting something done. Because I feel like the biggest thing holding a lot of people back is this voice in the back of your head saying ‘well this is gonna be stupid,’ or like, ‘no one’s gonna like this’ or ‘this is gonna be a waste of time’ but the thing is: if you don’t do it, then you don’t do it. You don’t have it. The worst thing that can happen, if you make the thing, is a couple years later you watch it and you’re like ‘Hm, this was dumb.’ But the worst thing that can happen if you don’t make it is you don’t have it anymore. You never made it.”
As for long-term goals, Windows simply hopes to keep creating films. “I just try to get my projects made and hope for the best,” she says.