With a plot that blends real life with fiction, a movie partly filmed in Los Banos was greeted with cheers and enthusiasm as it was shown at Pacheco High School on Feb. 21.
“Return to Nowhere” was written and directed by Los Banos High School alumnus Ferguson Sauve-Rogan. He returned to his hometown to show the two-hour feature film and encourage students that, with hard work, their dreams can come true.
“For anyone who’s a student at Los Banos or Pacheco High School, you have to follow your dreams,” he said. “Show your friends, your family, your teachers. Show the people who have put faith in you why you deserve that confidence.”
Sauve-Rogan, who was born in New York, graduated from Los Banos High in 2006. He said time taught him to appreciate the town where he spent his formative years.
“After leaving, going to college and coming back, there really is nothing like a small town. My time here was valuable,” Sauve-Rogan said.
“Return to Nowhere” is about Miles, an employee of a company working on California’s proposed high-speed rail system. Miles returns to his hometown of Los Banos for his father’s funeral. While there, his employers gives him the task of convincing farmers to sell their land. As Miles gets reacquainted with Los Banos and reconnects with a childhood friend, he realizes the only person who hasn’t sold their property for the high-speed rail is his mother.
The film features the Los Banos Cemetery, Main Street, Henry Miller Plaza, Day 3 Church, Pacheco High School Veterans Memorial Stadium and Sorenson’s True Value Hardware among its local locations. Several Los Banos residents were also given small roles in the movie.
Pacheco High drama teacher Gary Bettencourt, who was one of Sauve-Rogan’s teachers at Los Banos High, also has a part in the film. He said he takes pride in what his former student has accomplished.
“This is pretty cool, I’m proud of him,” Bettencourt said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. A lot of people thought about doing it, but no one took the initiative.”
Bettencourt said he thought the film was “really good.” He was not alone in that assessment.
About 100 people watched the film Friday and gave enthusiastic applause each time a local person or place appeared on the big screen.
Sauve-Rogan said his movie will hit the film festival circuit in the next few months and he already has some ideas in mind for his next project.
Sauve-Rogan, who also filmed some of the movie in San Jose, said he is grateful to his hometown for being so accommodating.
“You really can’t do this in a bigger city, but you have this community that’s a small town and you can get away with stuff like this. You can go out and have more film time and get something spectacular out of it,” Suave-Rogan said.