July 13--Dream Coast Films, a Beaufort-based movie production company, plans to shoot two independent films in the Beaufort area within the next six months, according to the films' executive producer.
Production of "Route 65 Nashville," about aspiring female country music singers, is expected to begin next month. The film's cast includes Eric Roberts, Corbin Bernsen, Naomi Judd and Rachel Hunter, according to executive producer Barbara Terry.
The production company still must raise $2 million of the $7.2 million budget, and Terry seeks investors interested in owning a share of the movie. The production company also is looking for companies interested in paying for product placement.
The second film, "My Brother, Your Outlaw: The Waylon Jennings Story," is to begin production in January 2014, she said.
Both films are "independent," meaning they are produced without initial backing from major Hollywood studios.
Although Dream Coast Films initially planned to film "Route 65" in and around Nashville, Terry says South Carolina's film production incentives convinced her to move the production here. Terry, who now lives on St. Helena Island, said it didn't hurt that filming here would let her go home every night.
Films or TV productions shot in South Carolina that meet certain criteria may receive incentives on wages paid and purchases made in the state, said Marion Edmonds, the S.C. Film Commission spokesman. He said the company has not yet applied for those incentives.
Terry, who is from Texas, is an automotive expert, writer and TV personality, according to her website. She wrote a column for the Houston Chronicle and once owned her own racing team. She also has appeared on CNN and worked as a spokeswoman or product representative for numerous companies, including Volkswagen, Rain-X and eBay Motors, the website says.
She co-owns the rights to both films with director and writer Ric La Monte, whose latest film, "Dead by Friday," was released last year. This is her first feature film.
Attempts Friday to confirm Bernsen, Roberts, Hunter and Judd would be cast members were unsuccessful.
"The Big Chill," "The Great Santini," "Forrest Gump" and numerous other movies were shot in Beaufort in the 1980s and 1990s. However, it's been more than 14 years since filming wrapped on the movie "Rules of Engagement," the last film shot here, according to Ron Tucker of the Beaufort Film Society.
Although the economics of moviemaking forced many productions to Canada, tax credits passed by many Southern states lured film companies back to the U.S., Tucker said. Now that S.C. adopted incentives of its own earlier this year, he expects more producers will consider Beaufort.
"You can build the right set and have it look like what you want it to look like," he said, noting that productions set in large cities such as Nashville can be made just about anywhere as long as there are shots of the city's skyline and other visual cues.
"Once you plant the seed in someone's head that you're in Nashville," he said, viewers generally assume all other scenes are shot there, too.
Terry says part of the movie will be shot in and around that city, which is the setting for much of the film.
With the cast apparently lined up and pre-production due to begin in a few weeks, Tucker said all the pieces appear to be in place.
"This can't possibly have a bad ending for her," he said. "The all-star cast is lined up and now it's up to Beaufort to make her feel welcome."
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.
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