Two films want Groveport

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Members of Groveport Village Council are playing the role of movie moguls as they contemplate working with two different filmmakers who wish to film their movies in Groveport.

"This is a new role for me," said Councilman Ed Rarey at council’s Aug. 20 committee of the whole meeting. "I never thought we as a council would be making decisions on movies."

Filmmaker Benjamin Johnson approached council with a proposal to shoot scenes from his new screenplay, "I-59 South" (see information on film below) on Main Street sometime in the spring or fall of 2008. He also is seeking a $25,000 donation towards the film from the village to help him reach the 10 percent funding he needs to raise in order to obtain further funding elsewhere.

Additionally filmmaker John Case appeared before council seeking permission to film scenes from his movie, "Book of the Dead: Necromancer," (see information on film below) in Groveport, as well as asking for a monetary donation (according to his letter to the village dated Aug. 6) from the village of $15,000.

Village Law Director Kevin Shannon told council and the filmmakers that the Ohio Constitution prohibits municipalities from using public funds for private, profit making endeavors.

"We could have some serious issues," said Shannon. "A donation could be construed as an investment."

Council members were also concerned whether the films would portray Groveport in a negative way.

Johnson replied that "I-59 South" paints Groveport as a "Midwest oasis" and would show the town in a good light.

"It’s the character that’s bad, not the town," said Johnson of his film.

Regarding "Book of the Dead: Necromancer," council members were skeptical that having theatrical zombies roaming the streets would leave a good impression of Groveport.

"I think zombies are negative," said Councilwoman Donna Drury.

Case replied, "There’s no way we’d make Groveport look bad. The film is more of a comedy."

Council asked Case to provide them with a copy of his screenplay so they could review it before making a decision on whether to allow him to shoot scenes of his film in the village.

Additionally, council instructed village administrative officials to work with Johnson on his film to see what would have to be done to accommodate filming of "I-59 South" on Main Street.

Council also asked village officials to see if there were any other financial options available for consideration regarding the films.

About the two proposed films

"I-59 South"

•Written by Groveport resident Benjamin Johnson, the two hour film tells the story of a young man who robs a bank and then goes on a "leap frogging" murder spree from an Ohio small town to New Orleans. It would be rated "R" for violence.

•Seven scenes would be shot on and around Groveport’s Main Street – five in a bank, two in a library, and five in an apartment. Main Street would be temporarily shut down for a short time, possibly overnight, and it is expected filming in Groveport would last a week sometime in 2008.

•Famed actress Olivia de Havilland is expected to appear in the movie as well as up and coming actor Luke Flynn. Filmmakers are also in discussion with stars Drew Barrymore and Claire Danes for possible roles.

•For information visit www.benjaminsjohnson.com


"Book of the Dead: Necromancer"

•According to Dangercase Productions Executive Producer John Case, this 93 minute film is a zombie comedy, which would be rated "R" for gore and language.

•The film would require a 19 day shooting schedule sometime in 2008, primarily on weekend nights. No streets would be closed.

•The filmmakers would seek out residents who want to be zombies to perform as extras, as well as students who could learn movie production skills.

•Permission would be sought from local businesses to film on their property.

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