Castille Landon directing Burt Reynolds, Amy Smart in Palmetto production

From memorable roles in films like Sex Ed and Paradise, FL and in television series like The Ghost Whisperer, Castille Landon has kept busy as an actress for close to a decade. But as she embarks on directing her second feature, which will be filmed entirely in the Palmetto area, Landon now sees a long future behind the lens. “As an actor, so much of your job is sitting by the phone waiting for a call that probably isn’t coming,” she tells SRQ. “I was working a lot, doing about three movies a year, but that still totals 20 to 30 days a year working. That was frustrating and I felt out of control of my own life.”

Now, Landon’s attentions are focused on directing And Then There Was Light, a film starring screen legend Burt Reynolds (Smokey and the Bandit)and Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect, Road Trip) and written by Landon. The movie, about a young girl who begins to lose her eyesight after a horse riding accident, will be shot largely at the Southeastern Guide Dogs campus in Palmetto, as well as a nearby horse farm and other local spots.

A relationship with Southeastern Guide Dogs played a major role in Landon choosing to shoot here. She said she would like to do more work in her hometown—she grew up in Terra Ceia—but that will largely depend on whether Florida puts an incentives program back in place. Southeastern Guide Dogs will hold a press conference next week with Reynolds, Smart and other cast members to discuss the film. As for the movie coming together, Smart just became attached to the film in February, with Reynolds signing on shortly after. Landon just finished the script in late 2015, and pulling together a major project with known actors has occurred with relative quickness.

Just as Landon ramps up work on And Then There Was Light, she has been putting the final touches on Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, another film she penned and directed—partly in Palmetto and partly in Eastern Europe. That film world premieres and competes at Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas this May.

As for the future, Landon still wants to be an actress. She lives in Los Angeles and continues to seek work. But there is no doubt the director’s chair has its benefits. “I like writing, but I am now writing to direct and I think directing, with some acting, is where I see my future,” she said.

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