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THE MEN OF DODGE CITY, 2011, 94 min.


Director/Camera - Nandan Rao

Producer/Sound - Sam Baumel

Editor - Michael Sweeny

Starring Jesse Rudoy, Ben Rickles, Zach Weintraub, and Sophia Takal


A trio of idealistic suburban twentysomethings flounder as they work to convert an abandoned Detroit cathedral into a community art space, and struggle to decide what that even means.


This was Nandan's first feature as director. He was not initially familiar with Detroit, but at the time it was a hotbed for the sort of activity depicted in the movie. He moved there in the fall of 2010 to get acquainted with the city and meet potential collaborators.

I went to join him after about a month. At that point, he had already secured use of the enormous, decaying Woods Cathedral in exchange for some money towards repairs, and some manual labor on our part to help remove debris from inside. For lodging, he had befriended and moved in with a 70 year old Macedonian Scientologist living alone in a neglected historical home (also in exchange for manual labor - the yard was so overgrown that the city was threatening to sue).

The shoot lasted all of December. Nandan had recruited our new friend and talented filmmaker Sophia Takal to act in the film alongside myself and my friend Ben Rickles. When Nandan's Detroit connections failed to produce a suitable lead, Sophia introduced us to Jesse Rudoy, who came to Detroit to star in the movie without ever having met us in person. Given that the primary location was an abandoned Detroit cathedral in winter, the shoot was naturally grimy and freezing cold. It was amazing.



THE OTHER MEN OF DODGE CITY - A shorter, musicalized remix edited by filmmakers Pete Ohs and Andrea Sisson.

Filmmaker Magazine Interview - This is an interview with Nandan about Pete and Andrea's remix.

DUSTY AND STONES - a feature documentary in progress by Jesse about a country music duo from the African Kingdom of Swaziland.

GREEN - the feature by Sophia (also shot by Nandan) that premiered at SXSW while we were shooting (she went and came back).

HOLY SHIT LOL - While putting this website together I discovered what's been going on at the Woods Cathedral lately.


TRIVIA: Both of Nandan's feature films (this is the first) include scenes in McDonald's. In this one, Nandan directed us to to construct the then-popular DIY value menu hack known as the McGangbang (recipe).