• Last modified 3862 days ago (Aug. 27, 2008)


Film crew enjoys Midwest hospitality

Scenes for independent film shot at Florence, Burns

Staff writer

“Marion County — the destination for your next movie.”

The county’s claim to fame recently happened a second time when a group from an independent film company shot scenes for a movie at Florence and Burns.

In July, a Wichita filming company shot parts of a documentary in downtown Peabody.

Finite Media out of New York City, N.Y., was in the county this past week and taped outdoor scenes at Town & Country Café at Florence and at a former gas station at Burns.

So, how did they choose Marion County?

Olivier Bernier, the writer and director of the movie, and Kevin Janke, the producer, drove across the U.S. last year to find interesting locations for scenes in the movie.

In June 2007, they found it.

“We hit Kansas and the Flint Hills and said, “This is it!” Bernier said.

Intrigued and impressed by the scenery, the 11-member film crew remain in awe of the scenery.

“The landscape is incredible,” Liana Nobile, the associate producer, said.

Earlier this past week, the crew was in Sevry, Wichita, and Cassoday. On Thursday, they filmed at Florence and Burns. Their next destination was Eureka.

The movie, “The Sunset Sky,” is a drama about an autistic 20-year-old named Charlie who travels with his older sister, Jennifer, to find their father. The siblings’ mother dies and Jennifer does not have the means to care for her brother. She plans to dump her brother with her father but during the trip, finds she cares more about her brother than she realizes.

The crew, most recent graduates or students, quit their full-time jobs to film this movie.

Bernier is no stranger to the film industry. As a student, he wrote, produced, and directed several award-winning films. This film may be the springboard for Bernier and his crew to become a part of the major movie stream.

The director, producer, actors, and crew members are New York City residents. The others are from New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

They are hoping to have the final cut ready by January 2008.

Spending several weeks in the Midwest has been a positive experience for the young adults.

“It’s been great meeting small town people,” Bernier said. He said he was impressed with how people strike up conversations with him.

In Thursday’s scene at the restaurant, the character Jennifer goes into her aunt’s restaurant to get her father’s address.

Preparation for the scene took far longer than the actual filming. It was cloudy with intermittent rain, making it a challenge to film. Extra lighting was arranged around the car where the scene took place. A hair and makeup artist gave actress Kaitlin Brown aka Jennifer, one last sprit of hair spray. Joel Brady who plays Charlie, sat in the front passenger seat of the car, biding his time until the crew was ready to film.

When the scene was filmed, the crew meticulously packed up their gear, got into their vans and cars, and drove 15 miles to Burns to do it all over again.

“It’s not as glamorous as it looks on the screen,” Nobile said.

Last modified Aug. 27, 2008