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October 24, 2007
TV show, movie have 'GM connections'
GRAND MEADOW, Minnesota (STPNS) -- It's always interested and intrigued me to see just how far small-town roots reach. Sometimes it's how far the graduates of a town this size can end up going and what they end up doing that is fascinating; at other times it might not be a Grand Meadow native, but rather someone with a Grand Meadow "connection" who has an interesting story to tell. (What's that they say about all of us being able to be connected by a mere "six degrees of separation"?)
Following are two recent stories worth passing along, each with a Grand Meadow connection.
Coming soon . . . to your TV
Dan Lester, son of Grand Meadow residents Derwin and Pat Lester, has recently returned to Grand Meadow. Dan, Robin and family have purchased the former Ralph and Lorraine Skifter home on 5th Street NE.
Dan and family spent several years in Alaska, but it sounds as though they may have made some interesting side trips along the way back to Grand Meadow. . . to Arizona, for instance.
Those tuning in to ABC this Sunday night to catch "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" might catch a glimpse of Dan while watching the "makeover". Actually, it's more of a minor miracle that is performed for an Arizona family living on the Navajo reservation, and Dan was able to work on the project as part of the volunteer construction crew.
Each week, the makeover crew and hundreds of volunteers build a dream home for a well-deserving family who has been chosen from many who apply to the show.
It's always a story that pulls at your heartstrings, keep the Kleenex handy.
Dan has a story to tell, I'm sure, and is willing to do so, but has signed an agreement not to tell anymore about the upcoming TV show until after it airs.
So tune in at 7 p.m. this Sunday night on KAAL-TV Channel 6 and who knows. . . maybe you'll spot Dan among those working on the week-long project that takes place over the course of the one-hour show.
In an upcoming issue (as soon as we can corner Dan), we'll go "behind the scenes" and get the "real skinny". (Sounds like a TV tabloid!)
Now appearing on the Silver Screen . . .
She's not a Grand Meadow native, but with the last name of Stier, you know she has to have a lot of Grand Meadow aunts, uncles and cousins, at the very least!
Some of Jessica Stier's relatives were able to catch her this past weekend on the big screen in the area opening of "Arnold's Park".
KTTC did a review of this movie Friday night, along with a telephone interview of one of the producers, who, as a Minnesota native had spent some time during his youth at Lake Okiboji, in northwest Iowa, and thought it would be a perfect setting for this film.
Jessica Stier and her real-life husband TAC Fitzgerald play a husband and wife in "Arnold's Park", a movie that was made in less than a month, but is getting some attention.
Jessica's father is Adrian, one of Alvin and Marcella Stier's eight children, and her mother is Patricia Hauser, who was from Winona. Jessica's full name is Jessica Hauser Stier. In this movie, she plays the part of "Susan" and the movie credits list her as Jessica Stier.
Rural Ostrander resident Susie Stier Kjeer said, "It was strange to sit in a theater and watch her. This wasn't a home movie of family reunion with Jessica in it. This was the real thing!"
Susie said Jessica was just one of the grandchildren over the years at family gatherings. She lived in the Minneapolis/St Paul area all her life until going to California. She and TAC went to school in the Cities. After school they went together to California to become actors.
"They have worked at other jobs over the last 10 or so years always keeping up with the auditions," Susie said, adding, "There have been bit parts in TV and movies right along, but this is the biggest break that I know of. It seems so neat they both have starring roles in this movie."
Some of the TV/movie projects in which Jessica has had parts or recurring roles are: Take (this year), Medium (two episodes), Grounded for Life (four episodes, 2003-2004), Jag (2004), Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (two episodes, 2001-2002), Providence (2001), Never Say Die (TV-2001), City Guys (2000), and Here on Earth (2000).
The making of this movie is a first. According to a review by Matt Kelley, along with the debuting of the movie, a new style of creating cinematic entertainment also debuted.
The film "Arnold's Park" was produced and influenced by thousands of people in all 50 states and in 20 countries -- via the Internet.
Wanting to take the Hollywood moguls out of the movie-making process, "We essentially took the idea that the only person that matters in the equation of entertainment, in particular in a feature film, is the audience member," stated Chief Producer Patrick Nelson. "We felt like people deserve to be more than just a seat in the theater."
Nelson and his team launched a website called www.peoplesmovie.com and started taking suggestions on the storyline, the setting, the actors -- everything. He says the on-line community embraced the idea.
So, with the concept of the YouTubes and the My Spaces, and the belief that "everyone should have a chance to impact the way they view and shape entertainment," they took that idea and launched a People's Movie concept.
Nelson said, "Sometimes you'll read stories about if a certain character does this, the movie moves in this direction. If you're going to share it in its highest light on the silver screen, you can only have one movie at the end of the day. Every decision you as an individual made may not be the one that was ultimately chosen by the majority," he says. "It's a majority rules process. You got to be involved throughout. You got to provide feedback on what decisions were important to you."
Staff at Filmstew.com said, "For several years now, folks have been visiting the website ThePeoplesMovie.com with more than browsing on their mind. They were there to tell the producer-director Gene Teigland exactly what to do when it came to the making of his murder mystery movie "Arnold's Park", partly because if it succeeds, they will all share in the dividends.
"It was really a brand new thing," Teigland told Marshall, Minnesota's Independent newspaper. "I think we were really cutting edge in terms of what we allow people to do. They helped pick cast, wardrobe, story locations and the whole gambit of things.
"[The movie is about] a social outcast who confesses to a murder he didn't commit and then returns to town under the guise of another person to solve the crime."
"'Arnold's Park'" got off to an encouraging start this past weekend via a sneak weekend premiere at a movie theater in Okoboji, Iowa. The film grossed $13,000 Thursday through Sunday, selling in the first 24 hours more tickets than that of the 820-person population of the town it was held in."
Nelson hopes for statewide and nationwide releases in the months to come. For more information, visit www.peoplesmovie.com or www.arnoldsparkmovie.com.
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