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Independent film shot in WP debuts tonight

June 19, 2014

BY JOSH PRESLEY
news@dailytimesleader.com

An independent film shot primarily in West Point will make its debut at 7:30 p.m. today at the Malco Theater in Tupelo.
In Glenn Payne’s sci-fi thriller “Earthrise,” 99 percent of the human race lives on Mars, while the remaining few work to rehabilitate an Earth that has been ruined.
“Earthrise” was filmed over two weeks in the late winter of 2013 in West Point. Most of the shooting was done at an old dance studio on Broad Street across from the Clay County Co-op, with additional shooting at the Bryan Foods factory.
Payne, who is originally from Union County and now lives in Tupelo, said he’s always wanted to do a science fiction film, and when the opportunity to submit for a $2,500 grant from the Mississippi Film and Video Alliance arose, he wrote the script for “Earthrise” as part of his submission.
“We shot a few little things in Tupelo, but 95 percent of the movie was filmed in West Point,” Payne said. “Pretty much everyone involved in the movie was Mississippi-based.”
Payne, who has shot several short films in West Point, said the West Point-Clay County Arts Council (WPCCAC) has always been very accommodating to his film shoots. He said the community in general has been very welcoming.
West Point native and Shendopen Productions owner Michael Williams, who served as director of photography for “Earthrise,” said WPCCAC was heavily involved in securing a space in which to shoot.
“The arts council came up with a long list of places we could shoot and we landed on the warehouse on Broad Street,” Williams said. “They helped us with set construction and donated a lot of supplies.”
Former WP-CCAC President Monte Brasfield said he thinks it’s wonderful that Payne and Williams are trying to bring movie-making to the Clay County community. He said he’s always tried to help them find funds and a place to stay while filming in the area.
“We let them stay at our house and fed them a few times so they could save as much money as possible,” Brasfield said. “We helped paint and gather scrap materials for their sets so all Glenn and Michael would have to do is concentrate on the creative process.”
Brasfield said while a film shoot might not bring in a lot of tourism, it promotes the community and brings in some interesting people from outside of town who can then go on and further promote West Point and Clay County through word of mouth.
Williams said the scope of this movie is much larger than any of his and Payne’s previous short films. The $11,000, feature-length “Earthrise” necessitated building an entire spaceship.
“We had to be very frugal, and a lot of people worked cheap,” Williams said. “We couldn’t afford digital effects, so we tried to do as much in-camera as possible, and with a little creativity we were able to do that.”
Payne said the interiors of the spaceship were built at the warehouse in West Point, while a Memphis-based artist created a model for the exterior. He said shooting in a warehouse with no heat in late February presented its own set of challenges.

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