Starting this summer, prominent locations in Centralia and Chehalis will set the backdrop for an independent film set in 1920s Tennessee.
The movie “Maysville” is being written, produced and directed by Portland, Oregon resident Leslie Goyette who said she believes Lewis County is the best place for her story to be told. After visiting multiple location possibilities, Goyette and her team decided they needed to film the movie in Centralia.
“Honestly, I think Centralia chose us,” Goyette said. “No matter where we were looking, everything kept pulling us back here. (The story) needs to be told here.”
The movie, set in the 1920s, follows a boy’s journey beginning in the Appalachian Mountains and eventually into Maysville, Tennessee. Some of the words the crew used to describe the movie are love, guilt, redemption, perseverance and sacrifice.
“It’s a story that people can connect with no matter which generation they were raised in,” said cinematographer Scott Bones. “It’s almost timeless in that regard.”
The story is loosely based off Goyette’s experience as a child in Appalachia. Though Goyette doesn’t normally share her writing, when she began writing the story she pictured her friend’s son as a character and sent what she had written to that friend, Michele Englehart, another producer for the movie.
“I have five screenplays, but I’ve never been brave enough to share them with anyone,” Goyette said. “I had a memory from my childhood and I’m like, ‘If I were to tell that story nowadays, no one would ever believe that that actually happened, but they would believe it if I wrote it in 1929.’ ”
“Maysville” is currently in a pre-production phase consisting of planning and fundraising. Since the film has a small budget, the production team is looking for Centralia residents who are willing to fill roles within the cast and crew. Some of the things they are looking for are movie extras, prop providers or creators and film production assistants. The production also has yet to cast two of the leading roles in the movie.
“There are many creative ways people can donate or help out the film. It’s not just money,” Englehart said. “I really think (the film) is going to look like a big studio motion picture, but it’s on a very small budget.”
Mary Kurtzbein, owner of Jewelry Boutique in Centralia and location coordinator for the movie said she is excited for the tourism opportunities she believes the movie will bring to Lewis County.
“I envision new visitors coming to our area for many years to come as a results of the ‘Maysville’ movie production,” Kurtzbein said. “Growing up here in Lewis County and living here in Centralia, it’s a huge honor to get to highlight some of the beauty here and some of our historical favorite places and get them on the big screen.”
Two of the main roles in the movie include Brian Sutherland, named “Best Actor in Portland” by Willamette Weekly, and Lisa Coronado, known for her role in “Z Nation” and “Twin Peaks: The Return Part 6.” The other two casted actors, Holden Goyette and Forest Campbell, are Goyette and Englehart’s sons. Goyette said she is glad there is a third producer, Jason Connelly, to be a mediator for the mother-son relationships.
The movie will have an informational fundraising event at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 at Centralia College. For $25, those who attend the fundraiser will receive dinner made by Jeremy’s Farm to Table restaurant and an informational presentation about the movie and ways to get involved with the cast or crew. Dinner will include smoked salmon alfredo and multiple vegetarian options, said Jeremy Wildhaber, restaurant owner and location coordinator for the movie. All proceeds from the event will go toward the production of “Maysville.”
“We don’t have necessarily to go to such great lengths to tell a great story,” Bones said. “We have great characters, great actors to play those characters and great locations to put those actors in. When that all comes together, it will be easy for the viewers to just fall into the picture and believe in the story that we’re telling.”
For more information and access to the movie trailer, visit the movie’s Facebook page or Indiegogo website at www.indiegogo.com/projects/maysville-a-feature-film#/.