Archive for the ‘Film Friendly Town’ Category

SatMar201210

Travels with Oscar, Smithville TX shines

 

This article is from the Orange County Register, Feb 23, 2012

 

Best Picture town: Smithville, Texas, in “The Tree of Life

People tend to either think Terrence Malick is one of the few artists left working in film, or the maker of insufferably obtuse movies. I have to admit I’m conflicted.

Though I’m a big military history buff, I couldn’t endure the endless shots of waving grass in “The Thin Red Line” and dropped out about 45 minutes into it. I know a lot of people didn’t make it that long into “The Tree of Life,” Malick’s defiantly nonnarrative rumination on the battle between the states of grace and nature over endless time. The opening sequences of the creation of the universe (dinosaurs?) and the corner of the world where Brad Pitt and family will live out their lives feel a lot like the start of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Maybe “The Tree of Life” just hit me at the right moment – it’s my favorite movie of the year. Battling congestion one late night in January, I popped “Tree of Life” into the DVD player. Maybe it was the combination: cold medicine, alone, dark and quiet house, Blu-ray on high-definition TV. I couldn’t take my eyes away.

The heart of the film is the town where Pitt alternately hugs and bullies his boys. I was transfixed by the simple beauty of the town – the trees, the houses, the shadows, the road and the faces. At the end of the movie, I scrambled to find where the film was shot. Though some shots were done in other parts of Texas, the core of the story is told in Smithville, just outside of Austin. I’ve explored the Hill Country west and north of Austin but never ventured to the east. The town of wide streets and an old-style downtown has been featured before, in “Hope Floats.” I want to go, though I don’t know what I’ll do when I get there or what I would see. Just life, I guess. Sounds like a Malick film.

P.S. Our B&B, the Katy House is eight blocks from the house used in “Tree of Life”  The Smithville Chamber has a new brochure listing most of the places in town used in the movies filmed in Smithville.


TueJun201121

Smithville, TX Goes Hollywood

 Who would have thought that we would get to meet movie stars and have them stay in our Bed and Breakfast?  Check out  this new  article from the Houston Chronicle. I love the last line: “They are beyond film-friendly,” Patterson says. “There’s something almost magical about filming in Smithville.”

Texas’ quaint Smithville goes Hollywood

By MELANIE WARNER SPENCER
Copyright 2011, HOUSTON CHRONICLE

June 21, 2011, 12:09AM

 Road trippers, business travelers and other rambling types who have driven the stretch of highway between Houston and Austin likely have spied the big “Smithville, Home of Hope Floats sign off of Texas 71. Despite the town’s proud history with the 1998 Sandra Bullock movie, Smithville likely isn’t the first place to spring to mind when most people think about Texas film. Since 2008, however, when Texas writer/director Terrence Malick shot much of his Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or award-winning opus The Tree of Life in Smithville, the sleepy hamlet has served as the backdrop for nine feature films and a variety of shorts, commercials and Web series. “It’s a beautiful town,” says John Patterson, location manager for The Tree of Life. “For six weeks, we filmed in one neighborhood. Part of the idea was having a neighborhood in the ’50s where the boys could run yard to yard without fences and without knowing whose yard they are in.”The film is set in the Midwest and focuses on the relationship of the eldest of three sons, Jack (played by Sean Penn), with his father (Brad Pitt). It tackles questions about relationships, faith, innocence lost and the meaning of life. Smithville offers a wealth of virtually untouched ’50s-era architecture, as well as Victorian, ’60s, ’70s and contemporary suburban streetscapes.The former made it a natural location for the movie, but according to Patterson, Smithville had much more to offer than just a great look. “We really got to know the town,” Patterson says. “Some of the cast and crew lived right in town and rented houses and rode their bikes to the set. It’s a pretty unique way to make a film.” Rather than using the ubiquitous trucks and trailers for hair and makeup, wardrobe and stars dressing rooms, they rented out a house for each department or actor to use as a base. While logistics and location are key, there is one thing that comes up every time you talk to a person who has worked on a film in Smithville: “It comes down to the people who live there,” Patterson says. “They all know it’s a special place. They are happy to be there and happy to show it off.” Quenby Iandiorio, a wardrobe supervisor and set costumer who moved to Austin from Los Angeles in 2010, has worked on three movies in Smithville in the past year: Beneath the Darkness, a thriller starring Dennis Quaid; Doonby, a drama featuring John Schneider; and Natural Selection, a dark comedy starring Rachael Harris by writer-director and Houston-native Robbie Pickering.The latter swept Austin’s South by Southwest film festival in March, nabbing the Grand Jury Prize for narrative feature filmmaking, the festival Audience Award and jury prizes for music, editing and screenplay, as well as breakthrough performance honors for Harris and Matt O’Leary. Iandiorio has both commuted to Smithville and lived there during production. (Beneath the Darkness is due in theaters in October; Doonby and Natural Selection are awaiting distribution deals.)”I totally dug it,” Iandiorio says. “It was a small town, and it’s really easy to get to work every day and change locations. When I was living there, it was magnificent. To be able to ride your bike to set blew my mind, coming from L.A.”While it was at times challenging to find clothing at the last minute, Iandiorio says it’s just part of doing this kind of work in Central Texas. “No matter how much you prepare for a trip, something comes up,” Iandiorio says. “Even in Austin there aren’t the resources that I’m used to having (in L.A.). It’s more challenging to get what the director wants if it’s not already in your collection. But nobody is going to have everything. … You have to shop for it and go secondhand and vintage.”Echoing Patterson’s sentiments, Iandiorio says it’s all about the residents, who are quick to assist the crew and for whom hometown hospitality is matter-of-fact. “Everyone lends themselves to the production,” Iandiorio says. “The small filmmakers wouldn’t be able to do these productions without their assistance. Film commissioner Sheila Tamble really rolls out the red carpet for people and opens up her house. Her husband’s cooking is amazing. Robert would cook for 70 people for lunch at night when we are shooting.” For Tamble, a Smithville native and real estate broker who got into the business quite by accident after showing a house to Malick prior to the shooting of The Tree of Life, it’s about bringing something unique to her community. “What I like is exposing our youth to different opportunities,” Tamble says. “They use the kids a lot in the films. They see the hair, the wardrobe. Our school district, like a lot all over Texas, can’t afford the arts. It’s the best way to show the children up front what it is.”Tamble and other enterprising community leaders in Smithville also recognize the economic benefits of being a film-friendly community. They have made permitting, security and other processes and procedures quick and easy for filmmakers. The mayor allows crews to office out of and hold casting calls at City Hall, and the police department is available to lead directors through the proper steps of a crime scene investigation. In return, thousands of movie-making dollars flood into the town and into the hands of its business owners and residents, who rent out their businesses, homes and guesthouses to crews. They have been known to lend or lease personal property, including planes, vehicles, a bottle of champagne in the middle of the night, farm equipment and even livestock to productions. Tamble’s rooster, Colonel Sanders struts his stuff in Doonby and Five Time Champion. (The latter was an indie favorite at SXSW and Dallas film festivals.)Local nonprofits reap the benefits from the industry, too. Tamble says producers from The Tree of Life, donated fruit trees to the community gardens. During the filming of Beneath the Darkness, Quaid participated in a Blue Santa benefit that raised more than $10,000. And Darkness director Martin Guigui is planning to return in October for the Smithville Music Festival. “The economic impact is something we see more because we are a small community,” Tamble says. “Tree of Life’s impact was about $725,000, not including what cast and crew spent on their own time.”The chamber of commerce has also gotten in on the action, creating a city map that pinpoints locations from the various movies and revamping its website, http://www.smithvilletx.org/, to include up-to-date details on current and past movies. Its tagline is: “A film-, family- and business-friendly community.” “They are beyond film-friendly,” Patterson says. “There’s something almost magical about filming in Smithville.”

melanie.spencer@chron.com
Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7618946.html#ixzz1Pwdol9q9


MonFeb201128

Smithville, TX, Chamber of Commerce Banquet

Here is a recap of the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet held last Saturday, March 26, 2011. Those attending saw an excellent video on why film makers should film in Smithville. The video was filmed by Danny Cameron  and Miranda Smith Cameron. Click here to see the video: Film in Smithville on YouTube.  I (Sallie Blalock) have a very small part near the end.  We are excited that two of the films that filmed in Smithville will be shown in Austin at SXSW. The two are “Natural Selection” and “Five Time Champion.”  We were thrilled to have some of the production crew to stay with us at the Katy House Bed and Breakfast.

Look at the video and let me know what you think about our town!

This report on our Chamber Banquet is from Mika Spears: ” We hope you had a great time at the Annual Chamber Banquet this past Saturday evening.  Congratulations to our Organization of the Year (Smithville Police Association), our Business/Employer of the Year (Smithville I.S.D.), and our very surprised Citizen of the Year, David Herrington!  We also had top-notch entertainment provided by some of the guys on our Board of Directors to celebrate the War Memorial Splash Pad project.  As usual, Catering by Chabot did an excellent job with the meal.

 There was also a surprise in store for our very own Adena Lewis as she was named “Citizen of the Decade” by the City of Smithville, and the Chamber of Commerce was awarded “Organization of the Decade”.  As someone who sees Adena in action almost every day, I can attest to her efforts and dedication, and I was elated to see her work acknowledged publicly.  And as someone who is employed by the Chamber, I am more than honored to be part of the “Organization of the Decade”, and I can assure you all that we don’t plan to “let up” anytime.”


ThuAug201026

Ernie Hudson and Doonby

Here is an interview with Ernie Hudson, a star that stayed here at the Katy House Bed and Breakfast,  in Smithville, during the filming of “Doonby”.

The interview was from:   www.bigshinyrobot.com/reviews

  INTERVIEW: Ernie Hudson

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 at 3:41 pm  

Recently we got the chance to interview the great Ernie Hudson. Being the huge Ghostbusters nut I am, naturally the interview got pushed on me. Currently Mr. Hudson is involved with a film titled Doonby:

Sam Doonby, a mysterious, handsome drifter gets off a Greyhound bus in a small Texas town and finds work at Leroy’s Country Blues Bar where his great musical talents make him very popular, especially with Laura, the beautiful but spoiled daughter of successful doctor Cyrus Reaper. Sam always seems to be in the right place at the right time to avert disasters befalling the town and its people until suspicion and jealousy drive folks to ask who he is and where he comes from.  Even Laura starts to question him so now he disappears as quickly as he came and things start to go badly wrong. His rejection results in terrible shocks for the whole town, not least for the doctor and his family as Cyrus’ past comes back to haunt him.

Below is the conversation Ernie and I had about Doonby, as well as a few other things:

BSR!: What’s new in your life right now?

Ernie Hudson: Right now things are going well, obviously the film Doonby that John Schneider and me that we did in Texas. That’s the that’s happening most relevant right now. I also do have a reoccurring on the Secret Life of a Teenager, and you know, just staying busy doing Law & Order last season. I didn’t get picked up this season. And I’m always looking for something fun and exciting to be a part of.

Sure, so you play Leroy in this upcoming Doonby movie, correct?

Right, yah. He’s a blues musician who decided to settle down and runs a night club. I hire Jon’s character and it’s about friendship and the music. To me he’s an interesting character because he’s a guy just trying to reconcile that thing of which you love to do and how do you make peace with the woman that you love. And how do you hold things together but still be who you are. And somehow be responsible for all these people who surround your life. I really liked the character a lot, it was a great character.

That’s wonderful. How soon does this movie come out?

I think they are looking at the Fall. They haven’t given me any exact dates. I think they are shooting for a Fall release, I’m told. I’m not totally sure yet.


WedJul201014

Smithville, TX is a busy little town!

The production crew filming “Doonby”, with John Schneider, Ernie Hudson, Will Wallace, and Robert Davi,  has now left Smithville.  But, word is, two more smaller production crews are coming soon. You can become a “fan” of Doonby and the Smithville Film and Music Commision,  on Facebook.com  We still are waiting for “The Tree of Life”, with Brad Pitt,  to open. I think it’s getting close to being in the theaters! I will keep you posted if we hear a date.

Smithville has a busy weekend coming up. The new Playhouse Smithville will have its opening and first performance on Friday, July 23rd, 2010.  The opening show is  “LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.”  The show will run from July 23 to August 7, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30.  Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased at www.playhousesmithville.com.  Seating is limited and tickets are selling fast.

Bruce and I already have our season tickets.  Playhouse Smithville,  110 Main Street,  Smithville, TX 78957,  512-360-7397  playhousesmithville@yahoo.com

On Saturday, July 24th, the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring Casino Night.  It’s a really fun night. Here is more infor on this annual event:

Smithville’s “Little Las Vegas”Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 7:00 PM Smithville Recreation CenterThe gambling action at Casino Night is hotter than the July temperatures outside as Smithville’s Recreation Center is transformed into a Vegas-style venue. Featuring such games as blackjack, Texas Hold Em, roulette, craps, and the ever-popular slot machines, it’s a sure bet that there’s no more exciting fundraiser around!  Always on the fourth Saturday in July, it’s a can’t miss event.Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the Italian buffet and some fun, before the action starts at 7 p.m.Tickets are $25 each prior to the event (purchased through the Chamber of Commerce) and $30 at the door. Ticketholders must be at least 21 years of age to be admitted. Price includes admission to gaming floor, a trip through the Italian dinner buffet, adult beverages, and $10,000 worth of chips. At night’s end, turn those chips into chances at great prizes! Silent auction prizes are also available for bidding upon (to donate prizes, please call the Chamber).For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at 512-237-2313.  And remember to save the date.  You can purchase tickets in advance below.

We hope to see you there!


MonMay201031

Smithville- Film Making 102

 Smithville Music & Film Commission

 512/216-2645

 SM & FC Offers June Educational Series

 As Smithville continues to reap the benefits and thrill of the movie-making process with the on-going filming of “Doonby,” the Smithville Music & Film Commission announces its latest in a free monthly series of industry-related educational programs on Sunday, June 6th from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

 “Film Making 102” will be presented by Danny Cameron and Miranda Smith, who under their production company, Zobest Pictures, haelted Smithville as their filming location for “Under the Western Sun” in October 2010. Their extensive knowledge and skills in the process of film making is shared with enthusiasm and a straight-forward approach that will provide knowledge to those interested in creating their own films. Whether it’s a short or feature, or the family reunion this summer, this is a great opportunity to hone better film skills.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity, made possible by the Smithville Music & Film Commission in cooperation with 1st ACT! Academy, where the workshop will again be held. Seating is limited, so call 512/216-2645 and leave your name to ensure space is available.


SatMay201029

Doonby filming in Smithville, TX

Movie Filming Takes over Downtown

Updated: Thursday, 27 May 2010, 10:27 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 27 May 2010, 10:27 PM CDT

This story was on Fox TV, by James Irby,  in Austin, Texas:

9th street, between Brazos and Congress is looking a whole lot like Memphis in the 1900′s. The makeover is for True Grit, an adaptation of the 1968 novel, which was also made into a movie in 1969, the latest 2010 version stars Jeff Bridges Josh Brolin and Matt Damon.

An hour east in Smithville there was lots of action to be filmed as John Schneider and newcomer Jenn Gotzon star in Doonby, the story of a mysterious stranger who rolls into town, changing it for the better helping a woman recovering from alcoholism. He even foils a robbery.

Then he suddenly disappears, much of the good he’s done, falling apart with his exit.   Schneider says no one can quite figure out where his character, Sam Doonby is from or what his intentions are.
 

“Like a good painting, this movie evokes different emotions from everybody who’s involved. Everybody who reads it everybody who’s in it and hopefully everybody who sees it.”

Taken by its small town charm, Schneider says Smithville has the kind of authenticity you just can’t get on a hollywood set.

Doonby’s producer, Mike Mackenzie, adding that Smithville is the ideal small town to create movie magic.

“It’s a very film friendly town. We’re the third production coming through and we understand there are two that are following us. Everything is five minutes walk away which is hugely beneficial to us shooting.”

Not all about acting, Schneider, star of the late 70′s, early 80′s television series The Dukes of Hazzard and more recently Smallville had time to help start the Children’s Miracle Network in 1982.
Schneider says they’ve raised close to 4 billion for children’s hospitals throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

“All the money that’s raised through the Children’s Miracle Network stays in the area where it was raised. You don’t have to wonder when you call up and make a donation where it’s going to go.”

Doonby is set for release at the end of the year or the beginning of 2011. “True Grit” has a release date of Christmas Day.

For questions or comments about this story, email james.irby@foxtv.com


ThuMay201027

Doonby in Smithville, TX

Here is a blog that one of the actors wrote about the movie Doonby.  They used our parlor as a “green room’, so we visited with the cute group for a few days.  This was written by Jolyn Janis.

ON SET: Doonby

Film: Doonby
Location: Smithville, TX

 

Synopsis: Sam Doonby, is a happy-go-lucky drifter who takes up residence in a small Texas town but seems suspiciously immune to the misfortunes that beset the other townsfolk.

 

I have a supporting role in a feature film called Doonby, shooting this month.  The film was written and is being directed by Peter Mackenzie. The cast is an amazing group of actors - John SchneiderRobert DaviWill WallaceJenn GotzonJoe Estevez and, of course, many others talents!

Here is a photo from our last “crowded bar scene” and Ernie Hudson’s last day on set.

Doonby Castorama! From left: Myself, Tom Lagleder, Dwayne, Lizabeth Waters, John Schneider, Jenn Gotzon, Ernie Hudson, Brandi Blevins 

Below is the Katy House, run by Sallie and Bruce, the most generous couple one could hope to find wandering on location.  Sallie hosted the principal cast at the house so we didnt need to wait in trailers or tents the whole day.  It was good to have a ‘home front’ to camp out for most of the day.  Thanks again, Sallie and Bruce!

Katy House 
Katy House owner: Sallie (with a friends on the porch) 
Katy House: Living Room “Home” for three days of shooting 

In the film, I play a swinger who is intrigued with Sam Doonby’s charisma as well as integrity.  Below is myself and my on-screen hubby, Tom Lagleder in full costume.

Swingers on set 

Sallie always gets pictures with the cast of films that come through her house.  This is our token “fireplace mantel” shot with her :)

Myself, Sallie and Tom 

There’s a lot of meandering and waiting to shoot on any set.  Smithville has a particularly interesting vibe, a small town chill that can only be felt, not described. I’m quite happy to slow down and wait around in Smithville, TX.

Smithvillery 

Waiting in my trailer, I often took off my red heels, which then became interesting subject matter.

Red Hells, i mean Heels 

And this is the woman who put me in those shoes :)

Wardrobe department (extraordinaire) 

I found out at the end of the day why people were asking Scotti (below) for guitar picks while we chat.  He is co-guitarist for Skid Row (and an awesome dude as well!)

Scotti Hill, co-guitarist for Skid Row 
Skid Row (Scottie on left) 

After the bar scene wrap, there was a small afterparty at the Tamble’s House, the location where I’ll shoot my next scenes May 31, June 1.  Im ready to go back to Smithville and see everyone again!

Afterparty! From left: Chris Armstrong, Jenn Gotzon, Tom Lagleder (who got shafted by a mystery shadow) and Myself 

Look for the film early 2011!


SunMay201023

Set of Doonby in Smithville, Texas

This is a post by Mark Joseph . He was here in Smithville because the movie Doonby is being filmed here.  His group stayed at our BandB. Having them here in town is so much fun. Here is his blog. See what his cute nine year old daughter said about Bed and Breakfasts.
Today, May 23, 2010, 3 hours ago

From The Set Of Doonby

Yesterday, May 22, 2010, 8:01:47 PM | Mark JosephGo to full article
I’m in a grand old Texas town called Smithville, shooting my next movie Doonby with a great cast and crew. The cast is an amazing group of friends new and old-John Schneider, Robert Davi, Will Wallace, Jenn Gotzon, Joe Estevez, and others. On the flight out from LAX I ran into Joe and we had a nice chat. Add a few years onto his nephew Emilio Estevez and you have Joe. He’s a great guy who told me all about his great family of 10 brothers and sisters born into an Irish Catholic/Spanish family (including his brother Martin Sheen). His Mother was apparently told that she couldn’t have any more kids after the first two, but she ignored doctors’ orders and had eight more. Love that.

The film centers around a mysterious character named Sam Doonby, played by Schneider, who shows up in a small Texas town, Smithville, which is every bit as beautiful as when Hope Floats was shot here. John is cool under pressure, unflappable and above all a gentleman. He’s blogging here with updates on the film as well. Will Wallace plays a bad guy and is playing it to perfection-a character light years away from the nice guy who is on the set with his wife and two toddlers and their presence has really served to make the set family-friendly.

One of my roles as co-producer has been lining up talent and I brought a recent friend Jenn and an old friend Robert to the picture. Jenn plays John’s love interest and is very intense in her preparation and really delves into her character. Robert arrives tomorrow and plays the Sheriff.

We’ve all fallen in love with Smithville, which is a short drive from the Austin Airport. The town has just one hotel but a number of amazing B&B’s. I overheard my 9-year old daughter describing the situation to her sister in LA on the phone this way: “People pretend their homes are hotels and you can stay there!”

We’re at a great B&B called Katy’s where Sally is taking good care of us. The people are friendly, the barbecue is great, the hospitality superb, and from what I’ve seen of the dailies so far, the movie is going to be amazing.


TueFeb201023

“Five Time Champion” to be released.

Five Time Champion”, a feature length film, was filmed here in Smithville, Texas. Our Bed and Breakfast had a few of the crew stay with us during the filming.  We are excited that it will soon be released.  As a member of the Smithville Music and Film Commission, I think it is great fun to see productions that have been filmed around our town.   “Five Time Champion” is a film about love, hope, petty theft, adultery, and the boundless opportunities presented by science.

The Director is Berndt Mader.  He is a director and writer living in Austin, Texas. He has written and directed films that have screened at festivals around the globe. His film A NEUTRAL DENSITY won Best Screenplay at the 2005 Cinematexas Film Festival, and was honored with a screening at the Director’s Guild of America Theater in Burbank. His most recent film, “ROAD TO TLACOTEPEC,” won the Audience Award at the 2008 Austin Film Festival. Mader holds an MFA degree in filmmaking from the University of Texas at Austin and is co-owner of the Austin-based production company The Bear Media. “FIVE TIME CHAMPION” is Mader’s first feature film to write and direct.

IF you would like to know more about the filming in Smithville, please visit the Smithville Chamber site.  If you would like to plan a trip our way, visit our web site. Reservations at the Katy House Bed and Breakfast can be made on line, or by calling (512) 237-4262.  

www.KatyHouse.com


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