From Byway to Movie Star!
December 27, 2010
A simple stop at the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway (SJSB) booth at the State Fair in Grand Island, Neb., turned out to be an unknown audition for a role in a movie. Jane Ryan, author of the award winning novel, The Boarder, visited the Byway’s informational booth and received a complementary bottle of water. Ryan found the water “superb” and contacted the President of the Byway about using the water in her upcoming movie project.
Jane E. Ryan Productions of Grand Island, Neb., started filming an independent, feature length film just off Highway 2 in Ravenna in early October. The movie is based on her novel The Boarder which is the story of a small town Nebraska family that adopts a child who later becomes diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Ryan writes from experience as two of her four children have RAD. “I had a wild idea that at age 65 I should be able to make a movie,” exclaimed Ryan. Because of all the normal confusion involved in making a movie, “The first two weeks I wasn’t sure it was such a good idea after all!” Fortunately, she soon acclimated to the process and returned to her original belief in the value of The Boarder project.
Ryan chose the small town because she had written the book on the front porch of a bed & breakfast called, “The Printed Page” in Ravenna. “After I decided to do the movie, I knew that town was the very place we would shoot,” she said.
When contacted by Ryan about providing the water for the movie in exchange for Sponsors Film Credits, the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway jumped at the chance. “We thought this would be a wonderful way to advertise our beautiful byway and contribute in some small way to the filming of this movie in one of the towns along Highway 2,” stated SJSB president, Tom Witt. The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway runs between Grand Island and Alliance on Highway 2. Prairie Industries of Mullen bottled the water for the project.
The cast and crew enjoyed the nearly 4,000 donated bottles which donned the eye-catching Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway logo. The water kept the crew of nearly 50 hydrated daily which was a tall order considering they worked twelve to sixteen hour days, six days a week. The water was also placed in many scenes in the movie. It can be found in the hands of the main cast members, on shelves of the grocery store as the lead characters shop and check out. It is also featured in a scene where a dog retrieves a bottle from the refrigerator and gives it to one of the lead characters, Jarren.
Most of the cast and crew were not from Nebraska and enjoyed their stay in the rural community. According to Ryan, “They loved the small town and the freedom they had in a lifestyle they’d never before experienced. They especially loved the people.” The filming wrapped up on November 7th.
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The crew was not able to visit the wonders along the Byway due to the hectic film schedule, but many said they wanted to come back at another time to explore. They did, however, enjoy learning about the Ogallala Aquifer and Nebraska’s pure water. “The lead characters that played Annika and Zeb, from Los Angeles, had the opportunity to visit a farm which they really enjoyed,” added Ryan.
Ryan, who wrote the novel and screenplay, was also the executive producer and director for the film, “We are hoping it will come out in March or early April. Part of what happens between now and then is attracting investors and raising funds to get the project through the Post-Production phase and into film festivals worldwide.”
Every film hopes to win awards and this one is no different. “Everyone involved in ‘The Boarder’ project truly believe this movie will win an Academy Award,” stated Ryan.
If that is the case, the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway couldn’t ask for a bigger stage in which to advertise. The problem will be finding just the right gown for a water bottle on the red carpet!