Local Talent Hits Big Screen

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Sylvia Dimas said she thought Jeff Santo was dreaming when he told her, summers ago, that he planned to set a movie at Jake's Corner.

When he told her there was a small part for her in his film, she was still skeptical.

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Sylvia Dimas is one of a few Rim Country residents, including Joe Miracle, Doc Holliday and Royce O'Donnell, who are playing extras or stand-in parts in the film, "Jake's Corner."

"I didn't believe him then. I don't think anybody around here did," she said.

True to his vision, and his word, Santo lived at Jake's Corner last summer to get a feel for the ambiance of the location. The small community is comprised of a bar, a general store and a trailer park.

This summer, he returned with a film crew, a cast of actors and a movie to make.

Dimas is one of a few local Rim Country residents, including Joe Miracle, Doc Holliday and Royce O'Donnell, who are playing extras or stand-in parts in the movie, "Jake's Corner."

"Everybody on the crew is awesome and it's been real nice getting to know all the people on the set and the stars," Dimas said. "Who would have thought this would happen living out here in the middle of nowhere?"

Dimas plays herself, Sylvia, the bartender at Jake's Corner Bar.

In "Jake's Corner," Sylvia has a few scripted lines and described herself as just one of the people who helps lead character Johnny Dunn, played by Richard Tyson, raise his nephew, Spence, played by Colton Rodgers.

"I'm just being me, so I don't have to act," Dimas said. She is in a scene where people are eating her famous beans -- except the filmmaker used canned beans as a prop.

"So I'm going to have the film crew sit down and eat my cowboy beans next weekend," Dimas said.

June Schranz is on the set not as an actress, but as the "set teacher" for Rodgers, the 12-year-old actor who is missing his last weeks of school.

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Richard Tyson and Colton Rodgers play the lead roles in the film, "Jake's Corner."

"We're working on essays now," Schranz said. "He's doing fine. He's a good little boy."

May 30 was the 14th day on the set and the Roundup caught up with the Santo while he waited for the crew to set up a trailer scene with Diane Ladd, who plays Fran.

The plot of "Jake's Corner" revolves around fictional football star Johnny Dunn who ends his football career early after the death of his parents and becomes a recluse. When Dunn's nephew's parents die in an accident and the 8-year-old comes to live with him, their lives change dramatically.

"Independent films have to have a tight schedule.

"We might get a scene behind, but we find time to make it up," Santo said.

He is proud of his "fantastic crew" which includes director of photography Paul Sanchez who worked on "Walk the Line" and "The Pursuit of Happyness."

"The filming is going just like I planned. It really is, from the jalapeno-eating contest, to the horseshoe game, to the Thanksgiving dinner in back of the bar," Santo said.

Santo will finish editing "Jake's Corner" sometime in August, in time to submit it for consideration at the Sundance Film Festival.

"We'll settle for no less than a nice theatrical release," Santo said. The film will play at Sawmill Theatres in Payson at a date that will be advertised in the Roundup.

Schranz and the local extras "have had a lot of fun being on the set and meeting the crew," but she said, "Hollywood is wait, wait, wait. Then hurry, you're on now."

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