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Bright lights, small city

‘Restoration Osceola’ film to shoot this spring

Think of famous movie locations like the "Field of Dreams" house in Dyersville or the many covered bridges in Madison County.

They're iconic images, and the city of Osceola could be next on the list.

Butter Cow Films will be shooting the film "Restoration Osceola" in Osceola.

Paul Berge of Butter Cow Films gave a presentation to Osceola City Council during the council's Dec. 4 meeting. Council members said they're appreciative of Berge's interest in Osceola.

"Hollywood is changing. It's changing to independent film," Berge said. "There's always going to be Hollywood, but there's a huge industry of independent films where they're called 'indies.'"

About the film

"Restoration Osceola" is a light, romantic-comedy set in a small, Midwestern city. The story is about a weatherman at a small television station who has many personal problems in his life.

As for the "restoration" aspect of the film, one of the characters restores antique cars and airplanes.

Last January, Berge shot a 17-minute short, drama film in Osceola called "Trying to Quit."

Berge said he received a lot of cooperation from the city with his short film. The short film helped Berge become familiar with the facilities, infrastructure and people of Osceola, which helped influence his decision to shoot his new film here.

In "Restoration Osceola," there will be shots of the city's water tower, airport, Chief Osceola statue, Lyric Theater, Clarke County Animal Shelter and Lakeside Casino.

The film production is looking for a house to film as the main character's house.

Berge said 85 percent of the film will be shot in Osceola. One scene will be done in Lucas County and another in Des Moines.

According to Berge, the budget for the film is what the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) calls "ultra-low," which means not a lot of money.

Cast and crew

There will be 50 people involved in the production of the film and 24 cast roles.

While the bigger roles will be played by indie actors, Berge said he is looking for actors for smaller roles. People from Osceola are welcome to audition, however, they have to be over age 18 because of issues with child-labor laws.

Extras are also needed. While extras don't get paid, they typically get a free lunch for the day's work.

The crew is all volunteers with deferred payment. This means they've worked with Berge before, and he's worked on their films.

One of the characters in the film will be a small dog. Berge went to the Clarke County Animal Shelter and adopted a dog to use in the movie. Berge's wife is a veterinarian.

A Facebook page and website for the movie is being worked on. After the start of the new year, casting for the film will start.

Berge said he's looking for local talent, especially from local theater groups or high-school students who are older than 18.

New York University film students will be working on the film as interns.

"We're going to have a lot of people involved in this," Berge said. "We're going to need lots of cooperation from businesses, individuals and the city itself. Suggestions are always welcome."


One of Berge's goals is to get the movie to become a SAG film, which is something distributors look for.

While there's no guarantee of the film being distributed, Berge said he is hoping to get the film on the cable market.

"If it goes into cable, suddenly Osceola becomes a town in the movies," Berge said. "Think of 'Fargo' 15 years ago. Who outside of the Midwest knew where Fargo was? The movie wasn't even shot in Fargo, doesn't even take place in Fargo. But, it made Fargo famous."

Berge added, the bridges of Madison County are still famous because of the Clint Eastwood movie from 1995.

"Restoration Osceola" will take 25 days to shoot. The film will be rated PG and shooting will be done in either May or June.

"Think of this as a potential industry," Berge said. "It's an industry that can set up anywhere and go anywhere in the world. You've got great infrastructure — interstate, railroads, airport — all fantastic, first-quality stuff. There's no reason we can't bring in more production here. You've got woods, you've got farms, you've got all kinds of settings that are really good for making movies here."

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