Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Independent Film Targets Shawnee's Stone Face

A screenwriter with Saline County roots is looking to turn his screenplay set in Garden of the Gods Country into reality with filming planned for this summer.

Brian DeNeal of The Daily Register in Harrisburg has the story.
CHICAGO - Stoneface is one of a handful of Saline County natural landmarks printed on postcards, on tourism brochures and on posters. The wizened face staring out from the Eagle Mountains over the valley has drawn generations out for weekend jaunts and it is also the inspiration for an upcoming feature-length film.

Alan Baldwin wrote the screenplay in 1992. Now, working with his brother, Bruce, of Baldwin Media Development, he believes the movie can be made at a much more reasonable cost than in the 1990s.

"I was in Boston at the time working with other people who were writing different things. I thought back to the time I spent roaming Garden of the Gods, Ferne Cliff and Dixon Springs," Baldwin said.

The Illinois Film Office rated the screenplay in the top 20 of screenplays submitted for a contest in 1998, he said.

Baldwin describes the film as a family action/adventure film set in Southern Illinois.

Although Alan Baldwin lives in Chicago, his brother Bruce lives in Eldorado. He's responsible for some of the breath-taking videography in the Garden of the Gods Country DVD produced by the Saline County Tourism Board.

Story boards for the film can be viewed online at the website of Baldwin Media Development at www.bmdtv.com.

Interestingly I was in a meeting with Bruce Baldwin last Wednesday at a Saline County Tourism Board meeting. He was there because the DVDs are selling quickly and the board needed more.

If they're successfull the film should prove to be great marketing for the region. Nothing has been shot here since 1999 when "Poor White Trash" invaded Benton. That one we won't count has helping the region's image (though it's got some great Carbondale jokes).

A year earlier Southern Illinois served as a setting for a film called Camp Betaville. Though never released theatrically it is available now on DVD.

Marion hosted the cast and crew at what's now the Holiday Inn Express, and much of the shooting took place at SIU's Touch of Nature on Little Grassy Lake and nearby Giant City Lodge.

If you have the Real media player you can check out the trailer.

In 1997, Warner Brothers used Pope and Massac Counties when they filmed early scenes of U.S. Marshals starring Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes.

The Bay City General Store that served as "Roy Willie's" barbecue joint still stands and has been restored with the upstairs developed as an inn. Also, the 727 airplane used in the crash at Bay City is now visited by scuba divers at Mermet Springs.

No comments: