Canadian town pools its funds for low-budget film

Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:11am EST
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By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It's almost like something out a of movie: A struggling, rural town decides to make a movie in order to turn around its fortunes.

But that's exactly what Kipling, Saskatchewan, population 1,100, is doing. The Canadian town's residents have banded together to form a company that will produce and finance an independent, faith-based film written by and starring Corbin Bernsen, the former "L.A. Law" star who now co-stars on USA Network's "Psych."

Things have been tough for prairie towns like Kipling, which is about two hours from the province's capital city of Regina. The economy is rough, opportunities are few, and anyone with means heads to the nearest big city.

Kipling hit the news once before: In 2006, a blogger spent a year bartering a red paper clip for a series of items of increasing value; in the end, he exchanged a movie role for a farmhouse in the town. The person who offered up the role was Bernsen, who trekked to the town -- which had collectively won the part -- to hold auditions.

Bernsen couldn't help but notice two things about Kipling: First, for a town that loved movies and wanted to be a part of the filmmaking process, it didn't have a movie theater. Second, it had six churches, a lot for a town of just more than 1,000 residents. Bernsen quickly realized that his movie -- the first word in the script was "c---sucker" -- probably wasn't suitable for the Canadian Bible Belt town, so he said he'd come back with another, more appropriate project.


At first, the town's residents were skeptical, but when it became evident that Bernsen was serious, the mayor met with him in the town's only motel and said Kipling wanted to finance the prospective film. Bernsen accepted the offer, even if he didn't necessarily believe it would amount to much.

"I thought it was very cute," he recalls. "But within months, we had over $237,000."   Continued...