The western “Eminence Hill,” filmed locally with Rim resident Charley Motley in the credited role of “Carson,” along with actors from the Oxbow Outfit and Payson Petticoats, premieres at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the Sawmill Theatres.
Rod Rockman, one of the Oxbow Outfit group, said about eight of his fellow re-enactors were in the film as background extras. Several will be at the film’s showing to meet and greet attendees. He said the film’s writer and director Robert Conway is also expected to attend, as is his brother, Owen Conway, who is also credited as a writer and appears in the role of U.S. Marshal Quincy Foster.
The storyThe year is 1887 and the place is the Arizona Territory. The Civil War is over; but farther west, the battle to settle this wild land continues. At the eye of this storm of lawlessness is the notorious Tullis crew. Out for revenge against 12 jurors who condemned his brother to death, Royce Tullis has left a bloodstained trail of vengeance against those who gave his brother the rope. The last notch to be carved on Royce’s six-gun is Isaac Ackerman, the jury foreman. Royce and his cohorts descend on the small homestead, dispatching Ackerman and his wife and kidnapping their teenage daughter, Ruth.
With U.S. Marshal Quincy Foster (Owen Conway) and former U.S. Calvary Scout Carson Garret (local Charley Motley) closing in on them, the gang heads north with an aim to sell Ruth into slavery. After losing their way, however, the Tullis crew find themselves in the small community of Eminence Hill, a town run by a group of deeply pious and fanatical homesteaders who’ve established what they consider a holy oasis in a desolate land of wickedness. How will those who live by God’s Law receive a group of bloodthirsty cutthroats? Will Quincy and Carson find Ruth before it’s too late? Only one thing is certain. In Eminence Hill, nothing is as it seems (written by FunHouse Features, one of the film’s production companies).
The film was first released Oct. 5, 2019 at The Wild Bunch Film Festival in Willcox, Ariz. where it won the award for Best Feature film and received several other nominations. Rockman said it was very well received at the festival and he complimented director/writer Conway on the fact that it is a film where the dialog can actually be heard. “That’s rare these days,” Rockman said.
It went into limited U.S. theatrical release Nov. 1, 2019 and to digital and DVD Nov. 5, 2019. You can rent the movie on Amazon Prime.
The movie shot some scenes in the Forest Lakes area, Rockman said, but they filmed most of it at Mescal, Ariz., a faux Old West town 50 miles east of Tucson that was built as a movie set. A lot of westerns were filmed here, including “Quick & The Dead” starring Gene Hackman, Russell Crow and Sharon Stone, and “Tombstone” starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.
Rockman said filming started in October 2018 and continued in January and March 2019, with editing taking place through the summer for the fall 2019 release.
He said he hopes Rim Country residents pack the theater for the film, but cautions it is not suitable for children.
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