Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco claims its own little slice of Hollywood

Omar Ellis didn't plan on making his movie in Pasco County. But then the man he cast in the leading role, Nathan Epperson, invited him out to his sprawling ranch in San Antonio.

"It's absolutely gorgeous," said Ellis, a 29-year-old student at the Art Institute of Tampa. "It's one of the few places in Florida that seems untouched."

Ellis began shooting his film, a short western titled Jackson in which a wronged lawman struggles for justice, in early August and wraps this week. It's slated for release at the end of the year.

Jackson is one of three films currently being shot in Pasco, a county that hasn't seen a major movie production since Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands, which was released in 1990.

"Those things help bring the community together," county tourism manager Eric Keaton said of the film projects.

The other projects are:

Sayonara to Hello, a documentary about the life of magician Steve Marshall, 48, a Zephyr­hills native who became famous in Japan (see related story). Filmmaker Nic Beery is following Marshall as he embarks on a monthlong tour from Florida to New York, his longest professional stint back in the United States after 14 years living in Japan. Beery and Marshall met in 1984 when they were both clowns with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. They planned to film around the Zephyrhills area this weekend to show what an ideal place it was for a young magician to grow up.

• Lawrence Feeney, who has had roles on shows like Rescue Me and Nurse Jackie, is producing a short film in Pasco to enter in the Producers Guild of America Weekend Shorts Contest. The contest begins Sept. 23 when participants are given a story idea. They have 51 hours to create and submit a short film. Feeney, 45, a Hudson High School graduate, recently moved back to Pasco to spend more time with his parents after living in New York City and Los Angeles for the past 15 years.

"No matter where you live, there's a community of artists who can do incredibly good work," Feeney said.

He joined the competition because he wanted to meet kindred spirits and connect with other artists in the area. While he is scouting locations, he's filming the pre-production so he can make a documentary on the film-making process. Filming for the contest is Sept. 24.

"It's exhilarating," Feeney said.

Keaton said it's not unusual to have a few projects going on in the county at one time — commercials, short films, student projects, feature films. He said he tries to be proactive to work with scouting agents to try to lure films to the area.

"It's kind of like fishing," he said. "One of these days we'll land another Edward Scissorhands."

Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.

>>Fast facts

You can be a star

• Calling all artists! If you want to be involved with Lawrence Feeney's short film as an actor or on the crew, contact him at [email protected] Filming is Sept. 24.

• To check out a trailer for Jackson, search "Jackson: An Omar Ellis Film" on Facebook to find the film's page.

• For information on the documentary Sayonara to Hello, and to follow the blog on magician Steve Marshall's tour, go to sayonarahello.com.

Pasco claims its own little slice of Hollywood 09/03/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 3, 2011 2:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump awards Medal of Honor to Vietnam-era Army medic (w/video)

    Military

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday turned a Medal of Honor ceremony for a Vietnam-era Army medic who risked his life to help wounded comrades into a mini homework tutorial for the boy and girl who came to watch their grandfather be enshrined "into the history of our nation."

    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23:  Retired U.S. Army Capt. Gary Rose (L) receives a standing ovation after being awarded the Medal of Honor by U.S. President Donald Trump during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Rose, 69, is being recognized for risking his life while serving as a medic with the 5th Special Force Group and the Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group during ‘Operation Tailwind’ in September 1970. Ignoring his own injuries, Rose helped treat 50 soldiers over four days when his unit joined local fighters to attack North Vietnamese forces in Laos - officially off limits for combat at the time.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 775062921
  2. Long day of diplomacy: Tillerson visits Afghanistan, Iraq

    Military

    BAGHDAD — Far from the Washington murmurs about his future, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to two of America's enduring war zones Monday, prodding leaders in Afghanistan and Iraq to reach out to longtime rivals.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, center, speaks Monday at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, accompanied by Gen. John Nicholson, left, and Special Charge d’Affaires Amb. Hugo Llorens.
  3. Head-on crash kills Wesley Chapel teacher and Zephyrhills man

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Two men, including a high school math teacher, were killed Monday in a head-on crash on Morris Bridge Road, deputies said.

    Shackelford
  4. Pinellas sees slight increase in black and first-year teachers

    Blogs

    A year after the Pinellas County school district was chastised in a state report for clustering inexperienced teachers in the state's most struggling schools, the district has reported a first look at its teacher corps.

    The Pinellas County school district has taken a first look at first-year teachers in struggling schools and minority hiring, both of which ticked slightly upward.
  5. Editorial: Trump owes apology to fallen soldier's Miami family

    Editorials

    There is no more sacred, solemn role for a president than to comfort grieving family members of soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. Those calls cannot be easy, and some presidents are better at it than others. Yet President Donald Trump and his administration continue to engage in a …