CAVE CITY — People of all ages turned out Wednesday night for a casting call at the Cave City Convention Center for the movie, “Never Forgive,” which is being filmed in Horse Cave.
Among them was Brittany Carter of Glasgow, who saw a post about the casting call on the Southern Kentucky Film Commission's Facebook page and decided to attend.
“I have actually filmed in a couple of other movies that they have done. 'Runaway Romance' was one of them. I was an extra and I just really enjoyed it and it's always something I've liked to do,” she said.
Carter was not expecting to land a lead role in “Never Forgive,” but said if she were to get that kind of part, it would be “really nice.”
Jessica Semon of Summer Shade also attended the casting call.
“I've always had a passion for theatrical arts. I've kind of grown up doing it,” she said. “I've actually filmed in a couple of movies as well — 'The Prayer Box' with Reginald VelJohnson and then I did 'Mail Order Monster' with Charisma Carpenter and Josh Hopkins. I just love film. I love the industry. I love entertainment.”
Semon was hoping for a supporting role in the film.
“I would love to get to where I'm a lead role, but a supporting role would be just fine for me,” she said.
Kellie Baxter of Brownsville, who was also at the casting call, appeared in “The Prayer Box,” too, as well as “Bethlehem Ranch.” She has also been in a television series and appeared in a commercial.
“I've enjoyed doing it so far and I've met several nice people,” she said.
“Never Forgive” is about a bank robbery in a small town.
“Bikers come into town with a plot to rob the bank and it's basically up to the marshall to stop them, which he does,” said York Shackleton, director.
He, along with producer Michael Philip, were hoping to cast 20 people on Wednesday, including extras and two speaking roles.
Jimmy Phelps of Glasgow attended the casting call with his 14-year-old daughter, Claudia.
“We did it for the experience of doing it,” he said. “This will be the third movie that I've participated in and that I've been in and it will be the fourth for my daughter. It's just fun.”
Claudia Phelps agreed appearing in movies is fun and said it allows her to connect with people and to make new friends.
“It's a lot of work and it teaches you a lot of responsibility,” she said.
Also, appearing in movies with her father allows her the opportunity to bond with him more.
“My mom really doesn't do this stuff, so my dad, he does it with me and it's great bonding time,” she said.
Many film makers look to Kentucky as a location for their projects due to the incentives the state offers.
According to the Kentucky Film Office's website, tax incentives are available to production companies that spend a minimum of $250,000 to do feature films or television shows in Kentucky.
Gov. Matt Bevin earlier this year proposed to take the tax incentives out of the state's budget for two fiscal years, but the Kentucky General Assembly put the back in and made them nontransferable and nonrefundable.
The tax incentives were also capped at $100 million per year. Once the cap is met, no other applications for tax incentives can be approved for that calendar year by the Kentucky Film Office. The cap has already been met for this year, so no new applications will be considered for approval.
“This year it won't open again until December 2018,” said Terry Martin, president of the film commission. “When it opens again, they will only take the first $100 million in projects. They have already accepted $471 million worth of incentive projects, but over eight years the state has only paid out $14 million in incentives.”
At one time, production companies could wait several years before filming their projects, but Martin said state legislators had a problem with that and didn't want the money tied up because of the possibility of all of projects being completed.
“Usually, less than 20 percent of them are done,” he said.
“Never Forgive” was one of the projects that had already been approved by the Kentucky Film Commission before the incentives were capped for the year.
Martin explained that Philip was in Louisville working on another project when someone who had worked on “An Uncommon Grace” suggested he go to southern Kentucky to do “Never Forgive.”
“We're excited about it,” Martin said. “He's been here two weeks, scouting. They are going to get this thing on the road in three or four weeks.”
The Southern Kentucky Film Commission has worked with production companies on 10 films over the last two years. “Never Forgive” will be the 11th film.
The communities chosen as locations for the films benefit economically by actors and crew staying in local hotels, eating in local restaurants and shopping at local businesses. The production companies also pay occupational taxes, Martin said.
“They bought boots for Tatum O'Neal in Glasgow right on the square. They had to have something real quick,” he said. “We had a girl to buy a car over at Gillie Hyde while she was here doing 'An Uncommon Grace.'"
One director even bought a house in Kentucky while working on a film.
The making of movies in southern Kentucky also helps publicize the communities where the films are made.
“They talk about Kentucky. They go on their social media and they promote everywhere. We've had calls from as far away as Utah,” said Sandra Wilson, executive director of Horse Cave/ Hart County Tourism.
“Runaway Romance,” which was filmed in Glasgow and set in Cave City, was shown on Up TV several times.
“There is no way I could have spent $300,000 to reach that many people for marketing,” said Sharon Tabor, executive director of the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission.
Another movie which was filmed in Cave City, “Better Start Running,” premiered in California in June, but will be shown during the Flyover Film Festival in Louisville. The film fest starts on July 22.
“It has tourist attractions all across the United States and of course all of the attractions in Cave City that are in there,” Tabor said. “There is no way I could pay for that kind of publicity or the region could have paid for that kind of publicity, especially if it gets on the big screen. The residual impact is hard to measure.”
Production for “Never Forgive” will begin next week and will take three weeks.