Local producer to start making movie in Victoria

Camille Doty

July 5, 2011 at 2:05 a.m.

Anthony Pedone, an independent filmmaker, wants to make his hometown a household name on the movie circuit.

"I want people to know Victoria as a place that welcomes independent film. We have found a great network of community support here," he said.

Pedone has been involved in at least nine films. His latest venture, "Roundball," is a comedy about second chances and chasing one's dreams - even if it means going back to your 1A high school to do it.

Sam Jones, the film's protagonist, plays a former athlete holding on to high school glory days, and many can relate.

Jones is a 30-year-old guy from Victoria who wants to make one last attempt to play professional basketball, but he has to return to his hometown to achieve his dream.

Jones enlists his old high school coach to train him, but in doing so, he must battle old rivalries and cope with old relationships.

"He's literally going back to his roots," said Elizabeth Spear, the film's director.

The Austin-based director said the film started off as a documentary. James Teems, the lead star, actually attempted to try out for the Austin Toros when he was 30 years old, but had to stop because of an old injury.

The movie was written by Kendall Lynch and Spear, who decided to bring the film to Victoria when she hired Pedone.

Spear and Pedone are based in Texas, but they met in 2009 at a French film festival.

Production has been in full swing for months. In fact, the opening scenes have been shot already at Office Systems Center in May.

"I am really looking forward to getting back to town and getting started," Spear said.

The next phase of shooting begins Thursday in Victoria and finishes July 24.

This movie will be a Brokedown Films + Robotic Indifference production. Pedone founded Robotic Indifference in 2007 with Stephen Floyd, formerly of Victoria.

Pedone said he has three films lined up to shoot in Victoria, and productions will run through the end of 2013.

"Or as long as the community continues to support our process, I guess," Pedone said jokingly.

Spears said she's grateful for the local support.

"The donations from the community, in regards to housing and meals, has been outstanding," she said.

Mumphord's, Jason's Deli, Chick-fil-A and Victoria Country Club have made donations to help feed the cast of the film, which features many local actors.

Local actor, Walter Womack, was cast as "Walter," Sam Jones' "dog-whispering" father.

In addition to Womack, Victoria actors Sage Boysen, Tad Cooley and Michael Urbano have been cast in the film.

Some other familiar faces in the film include Joe Friar, Ash Wade and Gary Moses. Even the Victoria College basketball team and Coach Jona Anderson will make appearances.

Some out-of-town actors include Starina Johnson, of Los Angeles; John Marrimon, of Austin; and three of the stars from the web-series, "Dealership."

Some recognizable venues include the Golden Gecko, Faith Academy Airport Campus and Patti Welder Middle School. The Windmill Grocery store on the Goliad Highway also will be in the film.

Most of the outdoor scenes will be shot in Victoria's newly restored downtown area. Perhaps some familiar faces will grace the screen because "Roundball" requires lots of local extras.

"Roundball" has a cast of more than 100 people, but they will need at least 200 extras to come out and to fill the stands at Patti Welder gym from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m on July 23-24.

In "Roundball," Patti Welder is home to Victoria's great rivalry, the Taylor City Devils. Extras are being called to fill the stands for the District 1A championship.

"It has to be packed and rowdy," Pedone said.

He also said he wants the community to come out and be a part of the film.

"We needed lots of signage for the big game" Pedone said.

Pedone contacted his former Victoria High School art teacher, Karen Burleson, on Facebook and enlisted her help. Burleson is with the Victoria Art League and has organized workdays for kids to come and join the actors and make the spirit signs for the film.

Each child will be given an art credit in the film and get to work side by side with the actors from the film.

Pedone said he's thrilled to be back in Victoria, filming "Roundball."

"It's really great to see the support from the community and to see their excitement when they see what they are helping us accomplish."



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