McGuire brings film venture back home

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 By Donna Thornton/News Editor

Bo McGuire wants to bring a film crew to his hometown of Hokes Bluff to lend a true southern twang to “*Hitbird,” a film project for his second year of film studies at New York University.

McGuire, a 2002 Hokes Bluff High School graduate, filmed a 12-minute spring project – the story of two southern girls rumored to be half-sisters, who share a history of success as a singing duo. It’s success that ended, McGuire said, when the less talented, but better funded sister Haylee, heads to Nashville leaving behind the more gifted half of the duo, Lurleen, in Hokes Bluff.

McGuire said the short film is a reunion of the two, and the dawning realization that they need each other.

As his spring project, he said, the film was well received, and he wants to remake the film – expanding it to a 20 or 30-minute film – for his second-year project.

This project, he said, should be a more professional, more accomplished effort and more of an introduction for a student director.

To make it, he said, he needs financial support. McGuire has a budget of $11,000 for the making of “*Hitbird.” It’s a small budget for any film, but as a student, McGuire said he and fellow students will be working on one another’s projects, so that the major cost will be getting people to the location to shoot.

The initial short film was shot in New York, McGuire said, on sets he put together to resemble the South. But when it comes to the real project, New York City is no Hokes Bluff.

McGuire plans to bring his crew and cast to Etowah County to film just after Christmas.

To do that, he said, he’s working now to raise money.

To get investors, McGuire said, he wants to give them an idea of what they wll be investing in – by screening his short film “*Hitbird Aug. 14 at the Rufus Floyd Public Library in Hokes Bluff. Everyone is invited, though he cautions there are a few “choice” words in the film, so viewer discretion is advised.

“My mother’s worried there’ll be nobody there but us,” McGuire said, “and my father’s afraid we won’t have enough seats at the Hokes Bluff library. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

If there is an overflow crowd, he said, the film is short enough that it can be screened more than once.

The film stars two actors with southern roots – Lynsey Buckelew of Dothan as Lurleen and Megan Stein of Panama City, Fla., as Haylee. McGuire said he met them when they were all students at Montevallo. They will be coming to Hokes Bluff to play the roles again when the film reshoots.

McGuire said he’s being creative with funding for the film – from passing the plate at a screening, to a yard sale planned Aug. 18 across the street from Hokes Bluff High School.

“If people want to be involved and can’t afford to make an investment maybe they can buy something at the yard sale,” McGuire said, or donate items to sell.

While funding his film is the goal for now, McGuire has his sights set higher.

He said he’d like to complete “*Hitbird “so that he can take it to HBO or Showtime and said “here’s your next hit series.

The strong female characters and their circumstances could easily lend themselves to episodic television, McGuire said.

In addition to selling his film project to the locals, McGuire wants to sell the film industry on his location.

“I want to make a film industry here in Alabama,” he said. While there is an Alabama Film Commission, he said, it seems to focus on bringing big productions in, rather than developing student and independent filmmaking locally.

“I’ve encountered so much talent here – actors, directors …

“I want to create a film industry here so I won’t have to leave,” McGuire said. 

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