Film crew to visit several local venues

by Lindy Steeves
Burns Times-Herald

Harney County is set to star in another movie. The film, “Roughstock”, is about a former professional bull-rider who was seriously injured and is living in his past glory days. When his car is repossessed and his wife threatens to leave him, he decides he will do anything to keep that from happening. Even if that includes riding again.

The film is the Columbia University MFA thesis project of Jessica Baclesse and Laura Teodosio.

In the upcoming weeks, the crew will be filming throughout Harney County. Their set locations include the Harney County Fair and Rodeo, Morgan’s Bar & Grill, King’s Discount Store, and other sites around Burns.

Baclesse, Teodosio and their crew decided that old-fashioned Kodak film would best show the rustic landscape of Harney County. This is opposed to the modern trend of using digital recordings.

Baclesse, the director of the film, is interested in classic American films and wants to modernize them to fit people living today. She hopes to accomplish this in “Roughstock” by combining modern cowboys and the unique culture of Harney County.

“I want to make a movie about a real cowboy in 2013, not about a nostalgic cowboy who doesn’t exist anymore,”  Baclesse said.

She attributes this passion to growing up in rural Missouri.

“Our county fair was a huge part of my upbringing. We loved the rodeos. My friends did FFA, I did 4-H. So I’ve dealt with this before and I understand how difficult it will be to capture everything.” Baclesse said.

Teodosio and Baclesse began making trips to Burns in the beginning of June, and have spent their time studying the area, getting to know residents, and mapping out potential filming spots.

The inspiration to come to Burns came when Baclesse was discussing her idea with a friend who worked on the film “Meeks Cutoff.” He suggested that they come to Harney County and after their first trip, the crew felt the fit was perfect.

“Since we’re trying to make an authentic film, we want to work with the community to learn as much as we can. Which is why this is now my fourth trip out to Burns, just so we can meet people and talk to people.” Baclesse said.

The crew has been in contact with Don Slone, Seth Franklin, Holly Palmer and other residents of Harney County in attempts to spread the word about the movie and gain as much knowledge as possible before filming.

“Everyone we’ve talked to has been so gracious and interested and willing to help if they could.” Baclesse said.

“Communication with the community is so important for us. We want people to know what we’re doing. We don’t want anyone to feel surprised or threatened that we’re here. So, the more people who know about this and the more people we can talk to, the better.” Baclesse said.

While most of the production and planning has gone well so far, the film has seen it’s share of hang-ups. As “Roughstock” is a graduate thesis, the budget is very low. Baclesse and Teodosio said that in the upcoming weeks, they would be staging an event where members of the community could donate to the film. Those interested in donating or meeting the crew are welcome to stop by.

“Roughstock” also has  Facebook and Twitter pages for those interested in learning more.

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