Film set in city to start shooting in March: ‘Porches and Private Eyes’ will feature local actors

Published 10:21 pm Saturday, October 10, 2015

The people and places of Brookhaven will once again grace the big screen. Travis Mills of Running Wild Films will be in Brookhaven in March to shoot “Porches and Private Eyes,” a feature-length film Mills has described as “a small-town comedy/murder-mystery.”

“[It’s] about three women who have a little gossip circle. That gossip circle gets them into this murder mystery intrigue when an old man in town disappears,” said Mills.

Mills recently came to Brookhaven to premiere a music video tribute to “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles for Brookhaven Little Theatre. The video was shot entirely in Brookhaven.

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“Last time I was here, when I was doing auditions for ‘Porches and Private Eyes’, I filmed that as well just to get some more experience shooting here and working with some local actors,” Mills said.

Mills is the grandson of Donald Patterson, a retired judge from Brookhaven. His parents traveled all over as missionaries, and Mills eventually settled in Phoenix, Arizona, where he co-founded Running Wild Films in 2010, but he said he enjoys returning to Brookhaven.

“I love the town,” Mills said. “It’s cool. It’s a great place to spend some down time and to write. It feels like people here are really excited about the idea of making a movie. They seem more enthusiastic than the general population of Phoenix, and that’s refreshing for us.”

According to Mills, Running Wild Films will begin shooting on March 12, and he plans on releasing the film in September. After that, Mills said he hopes to make a tradition of shooting movies in Brookhaven during the spring.

“I’ve got a lot of ideas,” Mills said. “Unfortunately, every time I come here I get more ideas. I’ve already got a few projects that I’m thinking about, and when I’m out here in March, we’ll already have another project that we’ll be raising funds for.

“My goal with the next one is to try to take the budget to the next level and get a name actor in it. Hopefully someone connected to Mississippi. Right now in Phoenix, we’re making movies with some Hollywood actors attached to them, but with this film I wanted to start small and then go from there.”

Running Wild Films has announced six actors and actresses that have been cast for the film so far. Brookhaven residents Marlene Cupit, James Minter, and Chandler Gagliardi will be featured in the film, along with Mississippians Lynn Forney and Joshua Powell, and Bo Pennington from New Orleans.

Mills said he plans on shooting during spring break for Mississippi School of the Arts, and hopes to recruit interns from them. MSA recently announced a new Media Arts program for the fall of 2016.

“I talked some with Suzanne about it, and it sounds really exciting, so I hope in some way I’ll be able to help with that. I’d like to be able to share my experience with those students once they get that formed.”

Suzanne Hirsch, executive director of MSA, recently said that there is a growing demand for film in Mississippi.

“The Media Arts program is needed,” Hirsch said. “Our state is now looking at tax credits for films. We’re seeing more and more come in. The time is now for our students to get on board with that. … If the film industry continues to come here, people are going to continue to see Mississippi in a bigger and better way.”

The John Krasinski-directed “The Hollars” was filmed in Brookhaven and is scheduled to be released in in the spring, possibly under a different title.