Actors Dakota Loesch and Amanda Leigh Jerry star in “Next Time” during filming in Pershing County. Time Travel USA billboards near Mill City were designed for the short film production.
Actors Dakota Loesch and Amanda Leigh Jerry star in “Next Time” during filming in Pershing County. Time Travel USA billboards near Mill City were designed for the short film production.
Travelers may have been intrigued by two mysterious billboards along the I-80 freeway in north Pershing County. The outdoor signs near Mill City did not advertise any of the usual commercial products or services, real estate, political candidates or religious agendas.

What was “23 minutes to Time Travel USA” all about if no such place exists in northern Nevada or Pershing County? If it doesn’t exist now, did it exist in the past or will it exist in the future?

The billboards served as props for a short science fiction film with custom-made billboard wraps designed for the project according to Arena Outdoor Advertising owner Robert Kennerson.

Independent movie director Talia Shea Levin of Los Angeles explained the nature of her road trip production and why she picked north Pershing County for many of the shooting locations.

“I wrote and directed the short film called ‘Next Time.’ It’s a road trip time travel film,” she said. “A couple on their way back from a ruined road trip hopes that highway billboards advertising Time Travel might give them the adventure they’re unable to create on their own. The story takes place mostly inside a car and, for the shoot, I looked for highways and vistas that captured all the magic of road culture that would look great on our shooting medium- 16 mm.”

As Levin searched for shooting locations, Kennerson’s vacant billboards did their job and got her attention. The signs are “a key feature of the film- almost like another character,” she said.

“When I was scouting for locations, I kept noticing the Arena billboards that say in bright red letters “for a good sign- call…” Those ads worked, we called and Robert worked with us to find boards that fit the story and install the beautiful designs created by Anna Reeser,” Levin said.

Filming happened on Highway 95 north of Fallon and on Highway 50 but much of the movie was shot in Pershing County with Time Travel billboards prominent in the background, Levin said.

“Time is a major element in the film so we tried to capture the feeling of being on a long road trip punctuated by some of the stunning sunsets, sunrises and landscapes that Nevada provided,” she said. “Plus actual Time Travel! Over the course of a three-day shoot, we drove almost 1500 miles! The ‘Next Time’ cast and crew are the most incredible group of people. I wouldn’t want to take a crazy road trip while making a road trip movie with any other bunch.”

No aspiring actors were needed for this short film production, Levin said. Maybe next time.

“We did not have the chance to work with extras in the area this time around!” she said. “There are only two characters in the film (that is, if you don’t include the billboards) played by Amanda Leigh Jerry and Dakota Loesch. We did have a wonderful time meeting local residents, though, who were supportive of us and our project and made our time in Nevada so special.”

Editing is underway on the 16 millimeter film footage to which special effects will be added.

“We’re reviewing now and beginning the editing process which should take us through Thanksgiving,” Levin said. “After that, we’ll need to incorporate the visual effects- it is a time travel movie after all- and we’re hoping to have a finished film in January.”

The movie will be entered into international film competitions and then will be available online to independent film enthusiasts in Nevada, Pershing County and elsewhere, Levin said.

“We will be submitting to film festivals around the world and are hoping to release it online in late 2019 so that everyone who was entertained by the billboards can see them in action, captured on celluloid,” she explained in an email last week.

According to entertainment news website www.IMDd.com, Levin is a writer, director, producer, co-producer, actress and miscellaneous crew member known for her work on the movies All-Sight, Black Jack and Lil BUB Save the World Again (2016) and Newly Single (2017).

Levin studied directing and screenwriting at Carnegie Mellon University and her work has been featured in the Broke LA Music & Arts Festival, NoFilmSchool, the Hollywood Fringe Festival and the Steeltown Film Factory according to her personal website.

“She aspires to become a giraffe but is prepared to settle for making movies forever if that does not work out,” concludes Levin’s online biography.