A story of brutality, redemption, and the desolate landscape intrinsic to both

SMOKE  tells of a 15-year-old boy who wakes up one morning to find his father wounded outside his window. A reserved man recently returned from the Korean War, he has killed a stranger in a senseless fight and, for reasons beyond his own comprehension, feels compelled to hide the body. Together, the teen and his father set out to dispose of the body in an old Indian cave and to try and make sense of the violence that has occurred, and that which is yet to come.

Alan Heathcock's story first appeared in the Kenyon Review, and is included in Volt, his award-winning collection of short fiction published by Graywolf Press in 2011. 

SMOKE is a story of brutality, redemption, and the desolate landscape intrinsic to both. The setting is late summer in the rural community of Krafton, fire season, the air thick with heat and soot. Fifteen-year-old Vernon wakes in the early dawn to discover his father at his window—wounded, filthy, and blood-stained. He orders Vernon to dress quietly and quickly, then leads him miles into the woods where he has dragged the body of the stranger he confesses to killing in self-defense the night before.

A story of deep humanity, SMOKE will be a haunting, meditative film in the vein of Paul Thomas Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola, and Ingmar Bergman. 

Boise-based filmmakers Stephen Heleker and Cody Gittings are adapting SMOKE into a film. Heathcock is an award-winning author and a faculty member in Boise State University's  MFA in Creative Writing program.

Heleker and Gittings founded Red House media, a visual arts collective in Boise. The pair are raising money through Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects, to finance the film. With just five days to go, they need another $5,000 to make the project a reality.

Helecker and Gitting were students in Heathcock’s fiction workshop several years ago, and he remembers them as two of his most talented and ambitious students. That impression made it an easy decision to grant them film rights, he said.

“Collectively, we want to make a film that showcases the exceptional talents of our burgeoning local film scene,” Heathcock said. “Cody and Stephen are very ambitious, and they have an ambitious budget because they want to make great art, want to tell a story they think has value, and it costs money to have the best actors and cameras and sound, and all the million other things that go into making a film. In short, they want to produce a film that’ll make Boise State University, the city of Boise, and the state of Idaho, proud.”