Welcome to NoWhereWood - Hollywood in the 573

Lights, camera, action! Perryville will soon join the ranks of "film-friendly small towns in NoWhereWood, Missouri."

Some fifteen years ago, I came up with the idea to make a feature film right here in the 573. Initially, the negative chatterbox in my mind said—You can't do that here. There's no actors here. There's no crew here. There's no support here. Well, I thought on it a bit and realized if none of those things existed here, there's a great opportunity here. So, we went to work to make a film. Sure we went to the local arts councils, colleges, TV stations, film organizations…and mostly got the response—you can't do that here. Well, by this time, we had no choice. We decided that we would simply develop local talent. We would train up actors, crew, makeup…

We made that first film in 2007, and it went on to worldwide distribution—shot it all in and around Ironton. Then we shot another one in 2018, and it went on to get worldwide distribution. We filmed most of it in Cape Girardeau, Perryville, and Fredericktown. We shot a documentary in 2020 and, in 2021, completed the production of a thriller that we shot in Farmington and Fredericktown. The thriller is in post-production being edited as you read this. We now have a great team of outstanding actors, crew, and support right here in the 573 region. NoWhereWood—Hollywood in flyover country.

Recently, we pitched the idea of developing a Film-Friendly Town program to Perryville, and they loved the idea. There is a Missouri Film Commission, but they are primarily concerned with bringing big film productions to Missouri. Although Hollywood films do bring big money to places like St. Louis and KC and a few outer locations around those cities. Our small towns, generally speaking, miss out on the economic impact filmmaking can have on a region. You see, friends, there is little effort put into attracting low-budget films—films under 5 million dollars. But as a filmmaker myself, I know that many low-budget films are being made in Missouri. Those films will typically spend up to 70% of their total budget on producing the film—buying food, locations, actors, props, housing, gas, wardrobe… So why not attract those films to your town?

Frankly, from my experience, there are film-friendly towns, and others are not film-friendly for one reason or another. Well, who has time to figure all that out if you know where the open-minded people are? Yes, being open-minded is extremely important. I'll tell you more about that deeper in this story.

Casting has begun for the first scenes outside of principal photography of The Spring. Bella and Abagail Stelling landed a great role in the film playing sisters in this 1870 period piece.

Perryville City Administrator, Brent Buerck, believes Perryville makes a good movie set. "Given our physical location and all the wonderful places and people we have to offer, it just makes sense that Perryville becomes an indie film resource," Buerck said.

A town can make or break a film. Perryville will help you make. As a producer, you need that.

Ava Duffe and Christain Simpson have both landed great supporting roles in The Spring.

With the launch of filmfriendlyperryville.com, Perryville is poised to attract feature film productions ranging from 250K to 5 Mil dollar budgets. With the help of many indie film producers and a regional marketing company, Perryville has reeled in an attraction many indie film producers desire.

The first thing Perryville did under the new program was to offer the 573 Film Festival a permanent home in Perryville—we jumped on that offer. The festival is usually held every year in different places, showing films from all over the world. It highlights many local filmmakers as well. In addition to showing films, the 573 Film Festival has workshops, talks, and networking events for adults. The super-popular 573 Kids Film Workshop teaches kids how to produce a movie and closes it with a Red Carpet Event. And this year will be the first year that the festival will also stream for those who can't attend. It is scheduled for October 14, 15, and 23. 573filmfestival.com

We are currently building services movie producers need and basic rules addressing filming and the safety of film crews and the public.

Dylan Jarret and Jack Buerck are slated to play two desperate Confederate soldiers held up in a dirty trench with nothing to eat.

Perryville is a great town, and I think indie films with budgets of $250,000 to $5 million would be making the right choice if they came here and did business with Perryville. We will be working with The City of Perryville and Perry County Tourism to develop Perryville as the next indie film-friendly place on the map. We are currently building services movie producers need and basic rules addressing filming and the safety of film crews and the public. The new film resources site filmfriendlyperryville.com will help residents and local businesses get up to speed with the effort.