News Column

Residents offered screening of 'After Life' at The Mills theater

October 13, 2013


Oct. 13--LAKE MILLS -- Area residents can get a sneak peek of My Town Pictures movie "After Life" at The Mills theater this week.

"After Life," filmed in part in this community earlier this year, began showing Friday at the theater and will continue for a week.

"It's emotional and it's funny, and it seemed to hit the right chords with people," said writer and producer Scott Thompson, of the reaction the film got from people at the Friday night showing.

"After Life" is about a television psychic who claims to be able to speak to the dead. The psychic teaches his college-aged daughter, Mara, how to do what he does. Mara uses her skills on a man whose wife has been missing and presumed dead for more than 20 years, but is shocked when she accidentally runs into the man's dead wife who is alive and well and wanting to stay hidden. The film is a dramatic comedy about many people's need to find a better life than the one they have, and how hard it is.

The movie was filmed in Lake Mills, Forest City and Buffalo Center, Iowa.

Thompson cast local talent in lead roles and as extras, while also bringing in nationally known stars of film and TV including Daniel Roebuck, Gary Kroeger, Liza Weil, Ellen Dolan, Ashlee Hewitt and Samantha Tuffarelli.

Dolan, an actress who played Margo on "As the World Turns," has been in Thompson's films before and plays the role of the not-so-dead wife in "After Life."

Leading the cast as Mara was Lake Mills native Gretchen Joy Skellenger, the daughter of Allan and Willie Skellenger.

"It went well," Thompson said. "It turned out about as we expected -- really good performances from all of our national cast members and especially from our leading lady. Gretchen did such a nice job and really showed she was on a par with the national actors who also came in and did a great job."

Some of the other Iowa actors who played a role in "After Life" were Matt Eastvold of Forest City, Catherine Penning of Eldora, Iowa, and Jim Brockhohn of Forest City.

At least 50 local extras were used between the three towns the filming took place in.

Thompson said the film is still in post production so there may still be some minor flaws with it during the screenings. Producers are adjusting audio and color grading to get it ready for the market.

"They're actually the very first audiences to ever see it," he said. "People coming should be intrigued by the fact that they're part of something they don't usually get to be a part of."

"After Life" will play at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. today and at 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Tickets, please

What: "After Life"

Where: The Mills Theater, 216 W. Main St., Lake Mills

When: 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. today, 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

How much: $4 for adults, $3 for students, free for 3 and under


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