Filmmaker Joe Duca (’14) is set to premiere his newest film, Her Name Was Jo, in nearby Winchester, Virginia, on March 20. The road movie, which was filmed in Christendom’s hometown of Front Royal, Virginia, and all across the United States, is a coming-of-age story about a young girl searching for her father.
Her Name was Jo, which was written, produced, and directed by Duca, follows ten year old Jo, who spends her days along the Shenandoah River with her best friend Selma, fishing, scrapping for metal — surviving. But when her stepdad dies, Jo decides, Selma in tow, to set off across the country in search of her real dad, a legendary folk singer in Los Angeles.
The film reunited Duca with fellow alumni Joshua Van Hecke (’15), Austin Leavitt (’16), and siblings Michael (’19) and Daniel Duca (’22), who helped throughout the production of the film. That desire to bring together alumni in the pursuit of creating art is one of Duca’s chief passions.
“Ever since I wanted to be anything at all, I wanted to make movies,” says Duca. “But as much as I wanted to learn the craft, that’s only one part of being an artist. I wanted to have something to say, a voice, a perspective on the world — to have a vision. Philosophy begins in wonder, and so does art. And to cultivate that joy in creation, that honesty in discovery, I don’t think I would have found that anywhere else but at Christendom.”
While a student at the college, Duca was involved with several Christendom Players theatrical productions, including Appointment with Death, The Merchant of Venice, and The Three Musketeers. He also began honing his filmmaking craft while at the college by directing two short films, including The Coward, which featured students, faculty, and staff both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
Since graduating in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, Duca has lived in Los Angeles, California, writing screenplays, directing short films and music videos, and — most of all — producing and directing two feature films. His first film, Evergreen, won numerous awards, including “Best Picture” from the Houston Broadcast Film Critics Association, and was recently released on all streaming platforms.
Her Name Was Jo recently was picked up for international distribution by Wide, after American distribution rights were acquired by Gravitas Ventures for cable, video-on-demand, and all digital platforms.
To purchase tickets, please visit here.
Her Name Was Jo is not recommended for younger audiences due to violence and thematic elements.