May 06, 2011 04:28 pm | Trevor Bacque
Local videographer Ken Thompson is in pre-production of his full-length legal drama based on explosive events from 15 years ago.
The film, A State of Being, relays the story of a Jehovah’s Witness family in Olds that came into money. Upon their newfound wealth, the wife pushed for a divorce and accused her husband of bigamy and incest. The RCMP was brought in to investigate the charges.
Thompson said the story morphed from a religious to criminal matter before culminating in a legal dispute.
Thompson extensively researched the subject prior to writing and said he often hit dead ends gathering a backstory.
He claims to have called the Jehovah’s Witness head offices in Brooklyn, New York, and was redirected to departments that didn’t exist.
“I did find it fascinating, but at the same time frustrating,” he said of his research. “I tend to dig deeper when people stonewall.”
The story intrigued the CBC, which made Thompson a six-figure offer for the rights. Thompson turned down the offer.
“If they were going to purchase it, I knew it was something I could do myself,” said Thompson. “Money’s not the thing, it’s about the creativity for myself. Had it been taken from me, they would have taken it outside of the city. I’m not into that. I’m a community person.”
Local companies believe in his vision for the film as well. The use of motorhomes for actor prepping and cars during scenes has been freely given to Thompson in exchange for their business names during the credits.
The City of Airdrie has agreed in principle to allow shooting of the movie and Thompson took out a $5 million insurance policy.
“He still needs to get permits and go through all the right channels,” said Jill Iverson, communications coordinator for the City. “He was free to film on the premise that he gives us the script first so that, obviously, it’s all on the up and up.”
Many of the actors and technical staff are from Airdrie and Thompson said the talent pool in the region is enormous.
“The good thing I find is we have a diverse population,” said Thompson. “There are many people that would like to be in this industry, but can’t find a direction.”
Among the cast is 14-year-old Robin McNeal of Rimbey. She has been cast as the daughter of the feuding parents and has acted in school plays before.
Thompson plans to cast many local celebrities in the film including The Range’s Marty Lawrence as the court judge.
“I did some stage acting in Cochrane five years ago and lots of commercial acting,” said Lawrence. “(Thompson) just sort of had me in mind for this. I thought, ‘oh interesting.’”
Thompson plans to begin shooting the film in September.