Bob Jones University premiers movie
APRIL 4, 2011 10:44 a.m. (0)
“Milltown Pride,” the newest production by Bob Jones University’s Unusual Films, tells the story of a young man who dreams of playing professional baseball.
But to do so, he has to defy his father and leave his privileged life for the local textile mill.
The movie looks at how much Will Wright, the lead character played by BJU graduate student Thomas Sneed, will risk for his chance and what happens when he hits rock bottom.
Tickets to the film’s premiere on April 8 on the Bob Jones campus are sold out, as are tickets to a showing in Demorest, Ga., on April 9 and another showing at BJU on April 10.
The campus bookstore is taking pre-orders for “Milltown Pride,” slated for release on DVD May 30.
There’s the draw of Shoeless Joe Jackson, the small-town boy with a ton of natural talent.
That talent took him from west Greenville to the big leagues.
His 12-season major-league career ended with Hall of Fame-worthy numbers and a lifetime ban from baseball to him and seven other teammates from Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis for throwing the 1919 World Series.
That ban has kept Jackson, who claimed innocence until his death in 1951, from being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
There’s the draw of Textile League baseball, an integral part of life in mill villages across the Upstate.
And there’s the parable of the Prodigal Son, the son goes against the wishes of his father to seek fame and fortune only to hit bottom before making his way back home, Burke said.
Burke started writing the screenplay in 1991 when he was doing doctoral work at Southern Illinois University in speech communication. Burke has written more than 50 film scripts, audiodramas and stage plays.
Burke, who has won several awards for dramatic writing, rewrote the script dozens of times since.
“There’s a universality of baseball,” Burke said. “If you grew up in America, you played baseball.”
Burke said his goal was to create a baseball story that would have universal appeal and to include enough of the gospel to become a theme.
“The message is more implicit than explicit,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s not heavy-handed. I want the story to work on a human level universally but on a Christian level as well.”
The film alludes to fights after games and bootleg liquor.
Although the film is set in a fictionalized town around 1927, some of the scenery may look familiar to Upstate residents.
Some of the movie was shot in Greenville County, while other parts were shot at the Inman Mill, the Clifton Mill and the Spartan Mill in Spartanburg County.
The baseball scenes were shot at in Demorest, Ga. at the Woodside Mill which still had a baseball stadium, said Laura Stevenson, the film’s editor.
Steve Ross, the film’s production manager, found the stadium as he was looking for an antique car to use in the production.
He saw the wire backstop through the trees, Stevenson said.
Other scenes were filmed at the Pelzer Auditorium, the Ashtabula Plantation in Pendleton and in Spindale, N.C.
The indoor mill scenes were shot at Boott Cotton Mills, a part of Lowell National Historic Park in Massachusetts.
“They operated the machines for us,” Stevenson said. “They actually got the equipment from a Southern mill.”
Being a period film complicated the production, Stevenson said.
“The 1920s, we assume we know,” she said. “But everything is different. We had to look at how they dressed, what they ate, what automobiles they drove. We tried to be as authentic as we could. It wasn’t until I attended a lecture at the History Museum two years ago, that I realized nobody put any money into the mill houses until they bought them.”
Even the phrases used by the characters had to be researched to make sure people actually used them in the late 1920s, she said.
Filming started in mid-May 2010, continued through the unseasonable heat of the summer and wrapped up in December, she said.
They were still working on the music last week.
In all, several hundred hours of film was shot for the movie, which is about 2 hours and 15 minutes long.
MAY 31, 2012 10:59 a.m. (0)
JANUARY 6, 2011 1:46 p.m. (0)
OCTOBER 17, 2010 10:30 a.m. (10)