Almelund is a feature-length comedy/drama/suspense/musical by Man From Fiery Hill Productions in association with Gracias Pete Productions and Kibira Films, Intl. Directed by Jeff Green, Almelund was filmed north of the Twin Cities in the summer of 2003 and premiered in November 2004 in Minneapolis. Since then, Almelund has screened in New York and LA for the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, and online for the Toronto Online Film Festival.
Almelund will be released on DVD April 30, 2005 and is available at the website.
Almelund is also on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0419428/
Local man co-writes, stars in movie filmed in Almelund
By MaryHelen Swanson
Famous film makers have to come from somewhere.
It just might be that North Branch’s own Jared King will be one of them some day.
Right now, he’s as excited as a pup with a new chewstick about the upcoming showing of a film he and three others produced, filmed at and named “Almelund.” It might put Almelund on the map.
After its world premiere Thursday, Sept. 16 at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis, the full-length feature movie will next be shown at the North Branch Cinema Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.
A 1997 graduate of North Branch High School, King, who is now substitute high school social studies teacher, is also a member of a well-known band based in Minneapolis called Man From Fiery Hill.
King became a member of the band in 2001; it had been in existence since 1996. Members are Brendan Kruse, Ben Walen, Tim Walen and King.
In between touring and recording, the band has produced videos, their first being called “Snow,” which was a number from their first album.
“We kept doing the short film thing,” King said.
With an idea among them to make a short film around a music video, Kruse and King began to write a storyline.
When they ended up with 70 pages they realized that with 10 more pages it could be a feature film.
The result - Almelund (the movie) - is an 83-minute comedy, drama, suspense play with three musical numbers.
“It’s an unconventional musical,” King said. The first song is more like a music video, he went on, the second fits in naturally as the actors are singing around a campfire. By the last song, King added, it feels more natural to break out in song.
The premise of the movie is that Almelund is known for having the second highest sightings of a creature like Sasquatch (or Bigfoot).
When there is a murder in town, the village folks believe it is the creature. Thus, four guys from the city head to the small town to investigate.
The movie takes place and was shot primarily in and around the town of Almelund.
In fact the back fields of Donald and Karen Swanson’s property (the couple also appears in the movie), became a state forest campground and one of their outbuildings became a cabin.
Filming took up every weekend in the summer of 2003. Lots of friends and local people were involved, King said, including a couple of members of the Almelund Fire Department.
Some shots were done at Rod’s Country Corner store and at other places in Almelund. A few shots were done in a Richfield bar.
The only way we could get it done, King said, was with everyone’s willingness to let us shoot. And, because they had no budget, a “hodgepodge” of people provided loans.
It was also necessary for the film makers to take on multiple roles, King said.
“If you weren’t in a scene you were the sound guy,” he said.
The film was directed by Jeff Green, and Kathy Jeong was production assistant “which we needed,” King said.
Film viewers might recognize others in the movie including the character of the “angry mom” whose daughter was killed, played by King’s own mother. King’s proud dad was the caterer during the filming.
“It turned out better than I thought,” King said. He was thoroughly impressed with the computer technology which allowed them to make changes where needed.
The film has been accepted in the New York Independent Film and Video Festival, playing in Los Angeles in October and in New York in November.
It cost $400 to enter each venue, plus there has been publicity costs.
When the film is shown at North Branch Cinema ($5.50 a ticket), King said owner Mary Felix is allowing the group to keep the money from the viewing.
The money will help them get to New York, King said.
More information on the movie and trailers can be found at www.manfromfieryhill.com/almelund.
Is this the beginning of something big in the film business? King said he might like to work in the industry, perhaps behind the scene or producing.
So who did murder the girl in the movie? “Maybe Sasquatch did or maybe not,” King said with a sly grin. Guess you’ll just have to go see for yourselves.
"There's enough in life to be afraid of without making stuff up." Movie makers release film in North Branch
BY DENISE MARTIN
Who knows? The film “Almelund” just might catapult Jared King and Brendan Kruse to star status the way Damon and Affleck’s “Good Will Hunting” script ignited their cinematic candle.
King’s and Kruse’s 85-minute movie “Almelund” is premiering in two screenings, one in Minneapolis and the other in North Branch three weeks from today.
“Almelund” was shot in and around the small town of the same name, in central Chisago County.
Jared King is a North Branch High School graduate. With Kruse and Ben and Tim Walen-- they make up the Twin Cities-based alternative rock group Man From Fiery Hill. MFFH provides all the music for “Almelund.”
Kruse explained that the band’s song-- Sasquatch-- was the motivating factor behind the movie.
He said the band members had an idea for a music video for that song. But, he continued, “We went a little nuts and it got out of hand.” The project turned into a film that celebrates the group’s music, said Kruse.
The town of Almelund was chosen because King had always thought it was a funky spot, and the name worked for the film. “We were looking for a location and a name for the film, it fit both,” Kruse mentioned.
Two Almelund firefighters were recruited to be in the film, Kruse said. Plus, crew members, friends of the band, are from around this area. Becky and Larry Ferrier were training or something one of the days of filming. Kruse said they were good sports about appearing ad lib in the movie and their scene is in the final edit.
“It’s the part where we are doing interviews of the ‘locals’” Kruse said of the Ferriers’ part in the storyline. “We are investigating deaths that could be related to Sasquatch,” he said.
The Almelund Fire Hall and the old Rod’s Country Cupboard can be seen in the film. Jeff Green was director. King and Kruse get writer and producer credits.
Kruse said the response so far to the film’s release has been amazing and there may have to be a second showing added to the North Branch Movie Theatre event. For now, the film’s being shown Thursday, September 23, 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.50. Watch for additional announcements.
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