'Fire Lily' finishes filming with final scene in Fredericktown

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday was the last day of filming for "Fire Lily," the independent movie being shot in and around Cape Girardeau. The last scene to be filmed, which was shot in Fredericktown, Mo., was the final scene of the movie, where the main character leaves her small-town home.

Now the hard part begins.

This phase, called post-production, is where movies are made or broken, said the film's director Kenn Stilson, who is also chairman of the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Theater and Dance. Now "Fire Lily's" crew of sound and film editing technicians will begin putting the movie together. They are deciding where this process will take place and choosing editors.

The next stop for the movie will be its entry into a handful of film festivals, including the prestigious Cannes and Sundance, and smaller ones in Austin, Texas, and St. Louis. If the film does well at the festivals, Stilson said, it might catch the eye of a big distributor like DreamWorks or Paramount and get picked up.

Stilson said the movie has small-town appeal that should do well in a European market, which tends to favor those types of films.

Stilton loosely based parts of "Fire Lily" on his own experiences growing up in a small Southeast Missouri town.

Victor Kantchev, who produced "Fire Lily" is a native of Bulgaria who has already made a name for himself as a local filmmaker. He both acted in and co-produced a short film last year, "In the Bag," which was partly filmed in Cape Gir-ardeau.

"Fire Lily's" plot, which Stilson has labeled "character-driven," centers around a group of young, blue-collar people lamenting their rather mundane existence.

"The actors brought it to life," said Pat Bond, a production assistant for the film.

Stilson said the film presented a challenge for the actors because the scenes were filmed out of sequence; the opening scene was shot just a few days ago. Their characters were not able to develop naturally as the plot unfolded, but the cast rose to the occasion, he said.

"I think people are going to be surprised at the quality of the acting."

"Fire Lily" was filmed at locations in and around Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Fredericktown and in Southern Illinois, and includes footage of Trail of Tears State Park and Amidon Memorial Conservation Area in Madison County, photography that Stilson describes as "visually beautiful."

"It was absolutely amazing," said assistant director Bart Elfrink of the Amidon area.

"I didn't know that place existed, and I think a lot of people that didn't know that place existed will try to go out there now."

Stilson said the overwhelming support the film enjoyed from the Cape Girardeau community made the whole process "just a joy" to do, and he hopes "Fire Lily" will be the first of many locally filmed movies.


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