Documentary filmmaker creates first fictional production


Rocky Walls’ forte is making documentaries.

“I never thought I’d write a fictional film. Like, never,” Walls said.

The Fishers resident never expected his Noblesville-based 12 Stars Media company would make a feature film.

“I would say the concept of revealing secrets in a laundromat came to me first, then I started joking with my team about filming it as a reality series later,” said Walls, executive director of 12 Stars Media. “I’ve always wanted to film something in a laundromat, so I think one day when my mind was wandering, I came up with the idea for what would become a key scene in this film — two characters revealing untold truths in a laundromat.”

Starring in “Dirty Laundry” are Mitchell Wray and Charlie Schultz, who are freshmen at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Wray, a University High School graduate who grew up in Carmel, plays Kyle Miller. Schultz, a Westfield High School graduate, is cast as Eric Hernandez. Wray and Schultz didn’t know each other before college.

The film began production in December 2023 in Indianapolis.

“Before I met and worked with any of the actors, I expected the process and experience to be completely different from a documentary,” Walls said. “I was surprised to find out how much common ground there was. Mainly in the way that the actors, even though they are acting, have to become very authentic when portraying their characters. So, a lot of the skills and experience I have in making a documentary subject feel comfortable being themselves ended up being useful for helping the actors authentically become their characters.”

Walls said the film will be a feature-length movie, which must be more than 40 minutes, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The script was 60 pages, so Walls estimates the film will run between 65 and 75 minutes.

Filming was done at night at an Indianapolis laundromat.

“As the night goes on, you kind of evolve into that character, and by the end of the night, you are that character,” Schultz said. “You go home and go to sleep, then you wake up the next morning and start the whole process again getting into that character.”

Schultz said it’s been great to work with Walls because of his documentary experience.

“He really cares about people,” Schultz said. “From a director’s standpoint, he wants to know how we’re feeling on all these different levels, and that’s really beautiful because he puts us in the right perspective to feel comfortable getting into these characters.”

Wray said the fact the film is set in the 1990s caught his attention.

“I love the aesthetics from then,” Wray said. “I’ve always been into vintage clothing and being able to bring our own style and interests to the film to help make these characters our own.”

Wray said he has always wanted to be a film director.

“So, just seeing behind the scenes and talking to the crew members, it’s so interesting to see what they’re trying to accomplish while we’re acting,” he said.

Wray said he looks forward to seeing the rough cut.

“I have an idea of what it’s going to look like in my head, but I’m sure it’s nothing like what the finished product will be, in a good way,” he said. “The film won’t premiere until next fall, so we have a whole year to envision what we think it’s going to be like.”

Wray has been acting since he was young. He performed with a national touring group in “Finding Neverland.”

The main characters’ family members appear in some flashback scenes, which focus especially on the relationship Kyle has with his mother, Christine, played by Erika Lewandowski, and the relationship between Eric and his father, Carlos, played by Ian Cruz.

Walls said Deborah Asante, founder of Asante Art Institute of Indianapolis, lends her incredible screen presence as a Mysterious Stranger.