Colusa County’s rice production, Ag aviation, and farm families combined with a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ style young love story are the focus of an upcoming film projected to begin filming in Colusa County next spring.
“The film with the working title “Colusa” is a family-friendly film that also shows farming in an incredibly positive manner,” said the film’s producer Norm Hunter during a September 14 Colusa County Chamber of Commerce President’s Breakfast.
The $14 million film is a coming-of-age, romance, flying story which portrays the rice and the Ag aviation industry in a favorable light in Colusa County.
“Hunter, whose film is being made in cooperation with the California Rice Commission, said he has had tremendous response to the project in Hollywood and has signed on some pretty heavy hitters in the film industry.
Casting director for the film is Deb Aquila (Twilight, Valentine’s Day, Live Free or Die Hard, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Expendables and Shawshank Redemption). Director of photography is Oscar nominee Dean Cundey (Apollo 13, Romancing the Stone, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, What Women Want). Sound design will feature the work of Oscar winner Chris Boyes (Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pearl Harbor, Iron Man, King Kong, Lord of the Rings).
Aerial coordinator and 2nd unit Director is Craig Hosking (The Dark Knight Rises (Batman 3), The Dark Knight, Inception, Indiana Jones & the Crystal Skull, Batman Begins, The Aviator, National Security). Post production sound will be done at the Academy Award winning Skywalker Sound Studio.
World aerobatic champion Sean Tucker will perform the tricky stunt flying in the movie.
The creative team includes top veterans from Pixar, Disney and award winning writers and directors.
Former Disney chairman Peter Schneider has commented that Hunter’s script is the best ‘coming-of-age’ story he has seen in the last 15 years.
Hunter has been in the Colusa County area scouting locations and talking with potential investors for the film over the past year. He has also become a familiar face among some of the growers and the flyers and said he has learned so much from all of these people.
During his presentation, he shared his experiences of harvesting and seeding, and flying in crop-dusting planes and helicopters.
“This is a wonderful area,” he said, “I could make this film in other states which offer film financing, but I want to make this movie here in Colusa.” I want to make this movie where there is a vested interest in the storyline and where people care about the messages we deliver,” he added.
Hunter stressed that this is a feature film, not a documentary. It is a story about the rice growers and the flyers that are the heroes of the land. It is about the family farms run by the people who own them.
The California Rice Commission has given the project two thumbs up. “Tim Johnson and Jim Morris of the Commission have commented that the film would do an invaluable service to the rice industry in Northern California.
Hunter’s vision for the film is to share the stories of the growers and the flyers as the backbone of the county’s economy, but also to showcase the beauty and grandeur that the Northstate has to offer.
He again stressed that it is a family-friendly film, and that these types of films not only make money, but that they are the types of films he chooses to produce.
“Statistics show that family-friendly films not only do great at the box office, but that they also benefit the communities in which they are set.”
He estimated that the production of the movie here would generate about $1.25 millions locally in sales of goods and services.
He also mentioned that communities where films are made often become destination locations for tourists.
“There have been many instances where movie locations have become famous. For example, the town of Forks, Washington where the Twilight series was filmed has seen a 1000 percent increase in tourism,” said Hunter.
Colusa County Chamber of Commerce President Gary Teragawa commented that a project such as this is going to be a huge asset to the county. “We need this film in Colusa County, and we need to do everything possible to see it happen,” he said. ■