Recently, my screenwriting past caught up with me. A screenwriter friend, Steve Larson, sent me an invitation to attend a free screening of the feature film he’d directed and co-wrote with another friend, Gary Jenneke. I knew the story of Holiday Beach because I’d read a couple versions of the script, but I hadn’t read the final shooting script. But how exciting! The movie was done and ready to be screened by crew and cast, friends and family.
Another writer friend, Chris Wold, and I went together to the screening at a neighborhood theater not far from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. A chattering crowd filled the lobby as we waited for the last commercial show to let out. At last, we filed into the auditorium and claimed seats. Before the movie began, instead of previews or cartoons (laughing) the producer and Steve each talked about the experience of making the movie which was shot on the North Shore of Lake Superior and at Camp Ripley in Minnesota. And an invitation to check the movie’s website at www.holidaybeachthemovie.com.
What impressed me immediately were the production values — very professional with a soundtrack that anchored the time period of the story in the early 1960’s. The action takes place at a naval listening base on Kodiak Island, Alaska. The main character is a Minnesotan named Carl Miller who sends and receives morse code. He’s just arrived at the base and his first encounter is with Harding, his adversary and bully. As the story progressed, I expected various scenes that didn’t materialize which was disappointing but didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the movie, watching Miller, Rossini, Dempsey and the others deal with bully Harding and the way they finally end his reign of terror. In the movie, the parallel conflict of the Cuban Missile crisis was far more prominent and effective than in the last script I’d read. I really liked that.
Their next step is to find a distributor for the movie. The usual route is through screenings on the independent film festival circuit. That will take more time and work.
I’m really proud of the superb job Steve and his cast and crew did on this movie over the last two years. Way cool to know someone who’s actually done it, too. I really loved the movie and hope it does well out there in the world….