Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Cleburne

May 6, 2011

Cleburne-filmed movie targeted to premiere in July

“Sweetwater”, a movie filmed in and around Cleburne earlier this year, should be set to premiere in July, said Kim Hughes, writer and executive producer of the film.

“That’s the date we’re shooting for,” Hughes said while addressing Thursday’s luncheon of the Cleburne Rotary Club.

Hughes screened two clips, one shot in the Wright Plaza Building, of the film, which stars actors Dean Cain, John Savage, Holly Lynch and Dallas playwright and actress Ashley Wilkerson in addition to several local residents who served as extras.

Cast and crew members set up shop at the Liberty Hotel for about six weeks in February and March while filming in the area.

Hughes describes the story as a search for the cure to cancer coupled to a story of friendship and the breaking down of racial barriers.

The hope, Hughes said, is to screen the film at the Cleburne Conference Center.

“But at lower than regular movie ticket prices,” Hughes joked. “Those are outrageous.”

Hughes said she subsequently learned that another film by the same name, about a basketball player, is also presently in production.

“I’m hoping that one’s a big hit,” Hughes joked. “That way, maybe a lot of people will come see our film by mistake.”

Hughes said she and her husband, Dr. Kent Hughes, cashed in an IRA to fund the film. A project that marks Hughes’ first produced screenplay, although she’s been writing screenplays and other works for several years.

Hughes, in March, said her 2010 New Year’s resolution was to see one of her screenplays produced by year’s end. A resolution she managed to realize, but only just.

A chance meeting with director Brian Skiba during a November flight last year led to the project’s fruition, Hughes said.

Skiba — who along with Laurie Love owns Arizona-based Victory Angel Films in addition to having directed several films — loved and agreed to film the script, Hughes said.

Hughes, a Cranfills Gap resident, said she and her husband love the people and the homey atmosphere of Cleburne. That, Hughes said, played a large role in their decision to film most of the movie here. The cast and crew members likewise fell in love with the town once they arrived.

Once completed, Hughes said she plans to enter the film in film festivals such as South By Southwest and Sundance in hopes of finding a distributor.

“It’s kind of a catch-22,” Hughes said. “This was the lowest budget movie I could make and get my foot in the door. You have to have an agent to work in the movie business, but you have to have had something produced to get an agent. But I like independent writing, wherever that may take me.”

Hughes several times credited God for inspiring her writing, and the Sweetwater project.

“It’s been an awesome experience,” Hughes said. “Whether there’s more, or just this one movie, it’s been great.”

All the same, Hughes said she hopes to produce more films. Hughes said she recently finished a comedy, a larger-budget film, that she’s hoping to convince Will Ferrell to star in.

That film will also be Texas-based, Hughes said, though not necessarily in Cleburne.

Still, with three other screenplays in varying degrees of completion, Hughes said she hopes to film another project locally in the future.

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