Do you ever wonder how a movie is made? Let me clarify this statement. Do you ever wonder how a movie is made by normal folks, not living in Hollywood, but living right here in Louisville, Kentucky. Here is a story of local people, starting from scratch and making a movie in our hometown.
First, the backstory. The year is 2004. Filmmaker Archie Borders was listening to a radio segment produced by Starlee Kine for This American Life on NPR called Everyone Speaks Elton John. It was about a musician named Jon Langford who went through the classifieds and created a band from musicians that took out ads. The catch was that they would only play for one day and record one and only one song. That song was “Rocket Man” by Elton John. After the recording, they would walk away, never to play as a band again.
Finding this piece oddly compelling, Archie could not stop thinking about it. For him, it was an analogy for many creative processes and events in life, where a group of people get together to produce a common artistic goal: a play, a wedding, an art show. In 2005, he bought the rights from Starlee Kine and started writing a screenplay adapted from her piece. With the help of partners David Henry and Mike Fitzer, the screenplay was written, filmed, produced and financed in Louisville, Kentucky. This film is entitled Please to Meet Me.
Here’s the synopsis of the film:
Rocker Pete Jones (played by legendary X front man, John Doe) is in trouble. He’s solo in his personal and professional life and he can’t seem to finish his long-awaited album. Threatened with bankruptcy and a lawsuit from his label, Pete turns to his lost love and former produce- turned-radio-reporter Laura Klein (played by Academy Award nominee Aimee Mann) for help.
Together, they form an eclectic group of musicians who have never met to create a band, for one day and one day only. Their 24-hour experiment will be recorded by Laura for the syndicated radio show “World Café” and provide her an opportunity to establish a life out from under Pete’s shadow. For Pete, it’s a chance to re-mix his personal and creative life, provided he can get his ego out of the way. For the unknown band, it’s a time to see if they have what it takes to realize, or say goodbye to, the dream of making it in the music business.
Just like the movie, the concept of unknowns meeting established folks actually happened in the casting of the movie. The “established folks” section of the cast are:
- John Doe, punk rock legend who also has been acting for 25 years.
- Aimee Mann, singer and actress.
- Louden Wainwright III, Grammy-award winning musician, humorist, actor and playwright.
- Joe Henry, Grammy-award winning producer and brother of movie partner David Henry.
As for the “unknowns,” they are not really unknown around here. Three Louisville actors make up part of the band: Timothy Morton, Adam Kramer and Katie O’Brien. The two other actors in the band are Karin Bergquist, lead singer in the Cincinnati band Over The Rhine, and California-based actress and singer Morgan Nagler.
The movie was shot at Kevin Ratterman’s La La Land studio in Irish Hill over the course of 2.5 weeks. There are also scenes shot in Butchertown, The Brown Theatre, Irish Hill and Downtown.
The actors all got the chance to try out local favorite restaurants. Joe Henry, who stars in the movie and helped with the muscial production, so enjoyed his eating experiences here that he wrote an article for Afar magazine about it. Read that article here: www.afar.com.
Flash forward to present day. After all the production came the editing, which was finished last March. They signed with Virgil Films (distributor of the film Supersize Me) for North American distribution. They are looking for an exclusive iTunes debut in April 2013 followed by all major video on-demand outlets.
The movie will premiere here in Louisville on February 15 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts and on February 16 at the Kentucky Theater in Lexington. It will be a weekend-long series of events and celebrations.
Be sure to watch the trailer here: