Momentum and anticipation are building as the Norm Hunter film COLUSA moves closer to filming in Colusa County.
Hunter, CEO of Summertime Films, Inc., along with a team from Pixar, Disney and Warner Brothers has scheduled production of the feature film here in 2012. It will be filmed using many Colusa County locations that Hunter has been scouting for nearly two years.
This week, when the California Rice Commission, which supports the effort, put the movie poster and a brief comment on its Facebook site, interest in the project began to ‘explode’.
“We were expecting news on an upcoming movie in the Sacramento Valley to generate interest among our Facebook followers. However, the tremendous response and the enthusiastic comments went well beyond our expectations,” said Jim Morris, the Commission’s communications manager.”
Once the Facebook post was up, it piqued interest in Hunter. When people ‘Googled’ Norm Hunter plus “Colusa”, it took them to an earlier press release on the making of a film in Colusa County.
Lloyd Green, editor of the Williams Pioneer said he suddenly started getting hits on his website looking for the article. “By Friday morning we had topped well over 1600 hits,” he said.
Hunter, who is making this film with the blessings and support of the California Rice Commission, has also received letters of support from the Family Water Alliance, and support from the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce as well as increasing support from the Colusa County Ag community, both individual farmers and pilots, and corporate interests.
Hunter has been in Colusa County scouting locations and getting to know the people and area for more than two years, and said this is the place to make this film.
“COLUSA is a coming-of-age family film in the vein of ROMEO and JULIET, but set in the high-speed, high-stakes world of Ag-Cat flying,” explained Hunter in a recent statement.
“Like an origin story for Tom Cruise’s character in TOP GUN, COLUSA features the most powerful single-engine planes in the world being used to seed America’s rice farms.”
The storyline focuses on a reckless, but skilled teenage pilot who finds his future plans for exploring the world in jeopardy as his family’s last rice seeding plane is totaled in an accident. He must not only embrace, but fight for the same small-town values he’s questioned, if his family, future and love of a ruthless business competitor’s daughter are to have a shot at survival.
Meanwhile, the Rice Commission couldn’t be more pleased to have such a positive light shined on the rice industry.
“We support this and any other effort that strives to deliver a positive message about agriculture and rice farming. It is uncommon to have a feature film give this kind of exposure to important parts of our industry, such as wildlife contributions of California rice lands and the family farming nature of this business,” said Morris.
COLUSA will be Hunter’s second film. His first film, “Her Best Move” won first place in three film festivals, was selected by the Museum of Modern Art (NYC) as part of their “Watch This” film series, earned domestic distribution with MGM, ABC Family and The Disney Channel and worldwide distribution with HBO, ProSieben and Mediaset. The film was also honored with the “Best of 2008 award from the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media. ■