Kentucky native’s new film “Runoff” sparkles

Kentucky filmmaker Kimberly Levin’s “Runoff” plays at the Kentucky Theater from Friday, July 24 through the end of the month. Photo provided by Kathy Bates, post production art supervisor for “Runoff.”

The best movies are the ones that revolve around human experiences. When it’s something the director is pulling straight from his or her own experience – even better.

That’s the case of Kentucky native and successful filmmaker Kimberly Levin, whose new film “Runoff” is expanding into select cities, including Lexington, Friday.

The film is about a small family living in a rural farmland area that provides goods and services to surrounding farmers in their small town.

In the opening scenes the film’s title character, Betty (Joanne Kelly), is seen tending to a large bee colony; her husband Frank (Neal Huff) is administering pharmaceuticals to the pigs of a local farmer and potential client – something that seriously threatens his health later in the movie.

A corporate competitor is encroaching on their territory – and even their property – and it’s affecting business in a major way.

With her family’s livelihood and her husband’s health in question, Betty is faced with an impossible choice.

What follows is a twisting and winding thriller about the lengths a person is willing to go to when everything she knows is threatened.

In describing the film Levin explained that people have a unique ability to process decisions and weigh the consequences. She was interested in exploring the sacrifices people make when a potentially worse outcome is the alternative.

Kelly shines as the hardened matriarch of her four-person family. Her face is haggard and makeup-free, and she senses the possibility of losing what she holds most dear.

“Runoff” was filmed entirely in Kentucky, more specifically, Henry County. Levin, who’s shot a number of short films and documentaries in her home state, said bringing her first feature production to Kentucky was a “no-brainer.”

The former biochemist turned filmmaker simply asked people to ponder and have a conversation about the consequences of buying for price rather than buying for quality.

The film’s plot points may seem hyperbolic, but it’s something that’s happening to local food-growers and farmers every day.

It’s rare to see such a stinging portrait of it.