ENCINITAS — Graham Ehlers Sheldon has had a lot of excitement in his 20s.
He’s traveled to the stark terrain of icy Alaska to produce a documentary on the Iditarod, to the nuclear-ravaged aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster in Russia for another documentary, and been in the company of the Ku Klux Klan and Black Panthers for yet another film.
This week, the 29-year-old film producer finds himself in Bloomington, Ind. — and couldn’t be more excited.
The college town is the set of his second feature film, “The Good Catholic,” which stars a couple of venerable actors — Danny Glover of “Lethal Weapon” fame, and John C. McGinley, the “Scrubs” star who is one of America’s most recognizable character actors.
“My previous work involved a lot of personal risk, so there is less of a chance of me getting physically hurt,” Sheldon said. “That’s definitely a change of pace for me, but exciting for a lot of different reasons.”
On Monday, Glover arrived in Bloomington, a high-water mark in Sheldon’s film-producing career.
“I mean, Danny Glover has had an incredible career and continues to have an incredible career,” the 29-year-old film producer and Encinitas resident said days before Glover’s arrival. “We are all very excited for him to show up on set.”
The film is based loosely on the story of the parents of Paul Shoulberg, the film’s director.
It stars Zachary Spicer as a young, idealistic priest who’s world is turned on its ears by a woman named Jane, played by actress Wrenn Schmidt.
“This is an unorthodox romantic comedy,” Sheldon said. “It tells the story of the two main characters and their journey to find a connection.
“They are both lost souls who are searching for something they may or may not find in one another,” said Sheldon, keeping the plot details close to the vest.
Filming for the feature film began on Jan. 25 and will finish Feb. 13. Sheldon said post-production should be completed by April, and then the team will submit the film to festivals across the country and speak to distributors thereafter.
In the interim, Sheldon said he’ll work on projects with his wife, Rin, who is also his business partner. The couple owns a Carlsbad-based production company, Stand Up 8 Productions.
Of all the places he’s been, Sheldon said he is proud to call North County his home. He and his wife, who met while they were students at Indiana University, spent a spring break in San Diego, moved to Encinitas a few years later, and never looked back.
“I love living in Encinitas,” Sheldon said. “We are very fortunate to get to travel the world, but we love the place we call home.”
He also loves being able to mentor young aspiring filmmakers in the area.
“One of my favorite things in the world is to talk to a classroom full of students,” Sheldon said. “The next student I am speaking with is going to be the next JJ Abrams, the next Steven Spielberg, the next Christopher Nolan. I especially love talking to North County kids and filmmakers. When they send me scripts, I love it.
“So, if you’ve got a great story, and characters I can relate to, feel free to hand me a screenplay in Whole Foods and I will read it at some point,” he said.