Hollywood Comes To Rim Country

‘Jake's Corner' premieres Sept. 3 where it was filmed


Sylvia Dimas has been the bartender and "bean lady" at Jake's Corner Bar for more than 15 years. Now she can add actor to her repertoire.

Dimas and other local actors make their big-screen debut in the film "Jake's Corner" at -- Jake's Corner, Sept. 3.

"I absolutely can't wait for it to open," Dimas said. "We are going to have an awesome premiere. Most of the actors in the film will be here, and BJ Thomas will be entertaining after the film."

Tickets, $20 at the showing, are still available for the 7:30 p.m. screening, at the bar, 57564 E. Highway 188. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

"Jake's Corner" was filmed entirely in Arizona over 24 days last summer.

The movie is about a fictional former Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Dunn, who is forced to care for his nephew, Spence, after a terrible car accident kills the boy's parents (Dunn's sister and brother-in-law).

Dunn, who lost both his parents in a plane crash, and subsequently ended his football career early, must deal with his own unresolved grief as he helps the boy cope.

Dunn, along with a town of eccentrics, nurture the boy, and learn something about themselves in the process.

"It is their rest stop for life," writer and director Jeff Santo said of the townspeople. "No one was born there, but they all found their way there."

The film stars Richard Tyson as Dunn, Diane Ladd as Fran, Colton Rodgers as Spence, Karla Basile as Ricki and Danny Trejo as Clint.

Spence is "a real kid from Arizona," Santo said. Rodgers, 12, is from Peoria and this is his first film. He was selected out of hundreds of other boys who auditioned for the part. Santo said he just knew Rodgers was right for the part after he auditioned.

"I would not change a thing about the film or the actors that were hired," said producer Hollywood Heard.

Dimas, who plays herself in the movie, has five speaking parts. Other workers from the bar, who have extra and stand-in parts, include Joe Miracle, Doc Holliday and Royce O'Donnell.

"What is neat about the movie is the crew, were all local," Dimas said. More than 90 percent of the crew and actors are from Arizona.

In 2006, Santo became a resident of Jake's Corner himself. For three months, Santo lived with the locals to get a better feel for the location and culture.

"I fell in love with the place and wanted to make a small town movie there," Santo said.

The film is PG-rated and has no violence or sex. It is a real family film, a tearjerker, Santo said.

At the Sedona International Film Festival in February, the movie debuted to a sold out crowd.

Heard said he is excited about working with local theaters in Arizona, including the Sawmill.

Brian Deveny, director of theater operations at Sawmill, said it is refreshing to see filmmakers excited about what they are doing.

"They are not usually so excited," he said. "They are just usually selling the movie, putting their passion there, not into the film."

The film opens at Sawmill Theatres and Show Low theater Sept. 12 and at Phoenix Harkins Theatres Sept. 5.

"It has been such a road, but I am excited that everything is working out," Santo said of the film's release.

When asked how she would feel if the film opened nationally, Dimas said, "Oh my God, that would be absolutely awesome -- and you know what, I think it will. From what I heard at the film festival it was only one of two family films shown, so it is something you can take kids to."

To learn more about the film, visit www.jakescornerthemovie.com.

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