Extras Needed for “Older than America”

November 30, 2006

“Older than America,” the independent film currently shooting in Cloquet, Minnesota, has put out a call for 800 extras for a scene to be filmed on Sunday, December 3. If you’re interested, be at the Cloquet Forestry Center at 175 University Road in Cloquet by 7 a.m.

The scene will be shot outdoors, so dress appropriately.

For more information, call Dawn Rixmann at 218-591-9662.

For more information about “Older than America,” see my earlier posts.


Snowbate Attracts Film Production Back to Minnesota

November 30, 2006

Minnesota Public Radio is reporting that film production is picking up in Minnesota, thanks to the reinstatement of the “Snowbate” program. The article features an interview with Lucinda Winter, executive director of the Minnesota Film and TV Board. She’s predicting $11 to 12 million in film production this year, up from the 3 to 5 million the state has posted over the past three years.

The item is posted at: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/11/16/snowbate/

The posting includes audio.

Minnesota Produced Films Up for Spirit Awards

November 30, 2006

Two Minnesota-produced features are nominated for Film Independent’s Spirit Awards. Robert Altman, a “best director” nominee for his final film, A Prairie Home Companion, is sure to be a sentimental favorite. Minnesotan Ali Selim‘s Sweet land is nominated in the “best first feature” category. Elizabeth Reaser is nominated for “best female lead” for her performance in Sweet Land.

The awards will be presented on Saturday, February 24th, during a broadcast on the Independent Film Channel. A complete list of nominations is available at filmindependent.org/spiritawards/nominees/nominees.php.

Refrederator Offers a Cartoon a Day

November 29, 2006

Need a daily dose of Popeye, Bugs Bunny, Little Lulu, or Mighty Mouse? Visit Refrederator. Refrederator offers a public domain cartoon each day. The site provides for easy subscriptions via iTunes and RSS feed.

Minnesotan Dave Kirwan writes commentary in the form of a blog posting.


North Carolina Cast as Duluth, MN

November 28, 2006

Duluth News Tribune columnist Chuck Frederick recently wrote a piece about the Duluth Eskimos and a screenplay called “Leatherheads.” (I would provide the link, but the DNT only allows free access to its stories for 7 days and the story ran on 11/18. ) About 15 years ago two Sports Illustrated writers, Rick Reilly and Duncan Brantley, drafted a screenplay about the long-forgotten, first Minnesota NFL franchise, the Eskimos. Reilly and Brantley’s script focused on the rugged early days of professional football. It took place in the 1920’s and was set in Duluth, with some scenes in Chicago.

Over the years the script has been reworked many times for various stars and directors and now it’s resurfaced again with George Clooney set to direct and star, along with Renee Zellweger. It was recently announced that the film will be shot in North Carolina.

I’m sure the North Carolina setting has economic advantages and will allow a early spring shooting schedule. Several reports are crediting North Carolina’s film production tax incentives as the key reason the film will be produced there. It’s also possible that the latest version of the script sets the action in another city. Still, I find it frustrating when films that are clearly set in Minnesota are shot elsewhere. Other recent examples include Miracle and Aurora Borealis, both shot primarily in Canada.

News Feature on Older Than America

November 27, 2006

The Duluth News Tribune has a feature story on “Older Than America” on its front cover today. Read it at http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/articles/index.cfm?id=29349&section=homepage

The independent feature film is in its third week of shooting in the Cloquet, Minnesota, area.

The newspaper site may require you to register.

A Day on the Set

November 25, 2006

I spent Monday, November 20, on the set of “Older Than America,” the independent feature being shot in and around Cloquet, Minnesota. I was lucky enough to be selected to be a “featured extra.” “Featured” means that the scene specifically calls for the character and “extra” means that you don’t have lines. I played a doctor supervising shock therapy on one of the film’s featured characters.

The scene, which centered around actress Jeri Arredondo, took five hours to block and shoot. Five camera set-ups were required. It was interesting to see a professional actress craft an emotional and physically demanding performance at closeup range.

After the scene wrapped, the extras were asked to hang around for an additional shot, which ended up being the day’s last, making for a very long session. The experience gave me a lot of respect for filmmakers, especially the technicians, production assistants and art department crew members, most of whom toll for long hours without a lot of pay or credit.

Late in the day, I had a conversation with a member of the crew that went like this:

She: Are you a doctor?

Me: No. (Unable to resist, I added) But I play one in a movie.

She: You look like a doctor.

Several people nodded agreement. Apparently, I do look like a doctor.

Me: I think that’s why they cast me.

To be fair, there were several doctors on the set, serving as technical advisors and playing other characters, so it was natural to assume I was a doctor.