Suspense, family-friendly movie filmed in Jefferson
Robin Y. Richardson
June 7, 2014 at 10 p.m.
JEFFERSON - "Lights, camera and action" will kick off today as camera crews begin filming the movie, "Something in the Woods," shooting scenes at various historic sites and attractions in this lively town.
"The film initially was going to be shot around Waco, but because of the content of the film, I kept pushing saying we really need to be in East Texas where there's a lot of forest, trees and logging operations," said Mike Hall, first assistant director.
Hall said the film's director and script writer David Ford lives in Hallsville.
"I kept telling him, 'David, you live in the perfect area, let's do something a little closer to home,'" he said. "The production company, located in Waco, said we'll shoot it in Jefferson."
Hall said Jefferson ended up being the perfect location to film the movie, which is about a logger and his family whose lives are suddenly interrupted by the invasion of Bigfoot.
"We found a location outside of Jefferson, a farm house," said Hall. "It was almost as if David wrote the script to fit this farmhouse."
Hall said "Something in the Woods" is loosely based on several actual Bigfoot reports from the 1940s and 50s.
"The frightening and surreal occurrences at this small farm that drove a family from its home have never been explained and is still talked about by the locals and around the campfire," the film's description says.
In addition to the farmhouse, the film crew will also shoot scenes at Jefferson's First United Methodist Church, the Baptist church and a café scene at Kitt's Cornbread Sandwich and Pie Bar.
Hall said shooting will begin today. On Thursday, June 12, they are inviting anyone with an original classic car to join the cast as an extra for the downtown scene.
"We're going to be filming downtown at the two churches and Kitt's café," said Hall. "We need classic cars - anything that's 1968 or older," he said, noting that includes cars from the 1950s.
"We're in need of those - not hotrods," he stressed, noting cars have to have original hubcaps and wheels, too, in order to complement the 1960s time era of the film.
"It's a very, small conservative logging community," said Hall.
Any original classic car is welcome to participate.
"It doesn't have to be in perfect condition," said Hall. "If it's banged up, that's fine. It looks more authentic."
He said cars will only be needed for a short period of time that day. Those interested can just show up at the church scenes or at Kitt's cornbread around 3 p.m.
"We'll need a half a dozen cars in the morning at the church - cars and trucks," said Hall, noting the scenes will take about 30 to 45 minutes to shoot.
Although the movie is a suspense/thriller, it's made for the entire family to enjoy, said Hall.
"This film depicts family morals and values, as well as having the creep factor of a Bigfoot lurking around their home, and how this family deals with this situation as it unfolds over the course of a weekend," said Hall. "Other than the fact it's about Bigfoot and can get a little creepy and scary, you can watch this with your kids."
He noted that it's not the typical Bigfoot horror film, or the same old "monster" movie.
"You don't have to be a Bigfoot enthusiast or believe to like this story," said Hall.
"I really think anybody that watches will enjoy the story and enjoy the adventure part of it, the ride along kind of thrill you're going to get from being with this family and having to figure out, 'what in the world is going on and what is this thing that suddenly decides it wants to come to our home … and we're not going to leave,'" he said.
Filming is scheduled to last through June 23. Hall, an actor by profession, said this will be his first time working behind the camera as first assistant director. All are excited about the project, which features the screenwriter as the main character, John Hartman. Kayden Grisham, of Jefferson, will also debut his acting career in the film, playing the child role, Jacob.
"A lot of businesses like Kitt's, several restaurants, the Blue Frog in Marshall, so many businesses and people and the Inn of Jefferson Hotel have been really good to us and have worked with us," said Hall. "We've had a lot of people donate.
"The city of Jefferson has been wonderful, gracious and welcoming," said Hall. "We couldn't ask for a better place to have it."
Hall said they hope to have the film mostly edited and ready for viewing by mid-October, in time for Jefferson's Big Foot Conference.
"We'll hopefully show a rough cut of the film there in Jefferson for free," he said. "We want to do it where everyone can come and enjoy."
Strange and scary things happen at small family farm, but for John Hartman there is only one thing to do , stand his ground against something that the rest of the world says doesn't exist... until he realizes that nothing is more important than the safety of his family.
For more information on the film, search for "Something in the Woods," on Facebook.