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Short film by Lake Oswego climate activist Duke Castle encourages viewers to keep their resolve in the face of despair

SUBMITTED PHOTO: JAN CASTLE - Lake Oswego resident Duke Castle (right) poses with the actors who star in his short film, 'London Connection.' From left: Bob Sterry, who plays John; Patricia Alston, who plays Margaret; and Colin Kane, who plays their grandson from the future. Lake Oswegans heading to the Lake Theater & Cafe next week to see the new Dick Cheney biopic "Vice" will find a small treat waiting for them before the feature presentation.

Beginning on Christmas Day and continuing through January, the theater will present "London Connection," a short film written, produced and directed by Lake Oswego's own Duke Castle and inspired by a story Castle wrote for the Lake Oswego Story Project.

SUBMITTED PHOTO: JAN CASTLE - Jeremiah Scott, the director of photography for 'London Connection,' frames a scene in the West Hills bungalow where the short film was shot in early December.Two years ago, the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network — a grassroots organization that Castle co-founded — challenged people to write stories that looked back from the year 2050 on the actions Lake Oswegans took today to prevent the worst effects of a changing climate and create a better world.

The project solicited inspiring and unique tales, some of which were performed live and all of which were published in The Review in 2016. It allowed participants to bring their personal experiences as champions of sustainability and green practices to life in a way that helped break down the stigma around fighting climate change, which can often feel like a daunting task.

"There is growing psychological distress around climate change, with people beginning to feel that it's hopeless," Castle says. "But the future isn't certain until it happens. It's never too late."

Castle wrote "London Connection" for the story project. His tale is a bit different, though, because it takes place in the past — specifically, in 1940 as Nazi bombers rained fire on London during World War II. The story centers around a couple who have sent their children to the safety of the English countryside while they remain in the crippled city, worried about their future.

It's a story of unwavering British resolve and how that inspired future generations to carry on, to strive forward and to continue fighting in the face of uncertainty.

This year, Castle decided to take that plot and translate it to the big screen by creating a short film. His Lake Oswego neighbor, Steve Waters, is active in the Portland film community and agreed to serve as executive producer. Together, they assembled a professional crew, hired three actors and shot the movie earlier this month in a 1938 bungalow in the Portland West Hills.

SUBMITTED PHOTO: JAN CASTLE - Actors Bob Sterry and Partricia Alston prepare for a scene in 'London Connection,' a short film written and directed by Lake Oswego resident Duke Castle."I've always been impressed with how the British people didn't give up, even in their darkest hour," Castle says. "I think there's a lesson for all of us there. I hope it helps to address the despair that many are feeling about climate change. The basic message is, it's never too late."

According to Castle, it didn't take much convincing when he reached out to Lake Theater Manager Jordan Perry and asked if he would show the five-minute-long film. It's just the latest part of a great relationship that LOSN has built with businesses like the Lake Theater since its inception in 2013.

"Having partners like the Lake Theater that help us promote projects like this is great," Castle says. "When we rolled out our sustainability certification program, the Lake Theater was one of the first to participate. Jordan Perry has been absolutely great about it."

"London Connection" starts out with Castle's fictional couple, played by Bob Sterry and Patricia Alston, returning to their home, discussing the state of bombed-out and fire-ridden London and worrying they might never see their children again. As the wife moves upstairs, the husband goes into the kitchen, where he meets a young man, played by Colin Kane, who explains his admiration for the couple standing their ground, keeping their resolve and marching onward despite the despair and desolation around them.

The young man is revealed to be a relative and a time traveler from the future — the couple's great-grandson, whose family nows lives in a little town in the Pacific Northwest. (There are actually two versions of the film. In one, the grandson hails from Lake Oswego; the other, requested by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, substitutes Corvallis for Lake Oswego when the young man says where he's from.)

In both versions, though, the message is inspirational and heartwarming: Even in the face of despair, there is always hope.

"This issue (climate change) will go beyond my lifetime," Castle says. "I have a daughter in her 30s, and I want to give her the best possible world we can give her. Even if we're not around, we've got to make the best of this."

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Sam Stites at 503-479-2375 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

WATCH THE FILM

See "London Connection" at the Lake Theater throughout the holiday season before screenings of "Vice," or check it out online at bit.ly/LondonConnection.

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