Rolling out the red carpet

Goodrich Capital 8 manager Bob Wilkins, left, watches as leading actor Jeffrey Johnson autographs an “Apparitional” movie poster following the red carpet premiere of the horror film on Saturday evening.

Goodrich Capital 8 manager Bob Wilkins, left, watches as leading actor Jeffrey Johnson autographs an “Apparitional” movie poster following the red carpet premiere of the horror film on Saturday evening.

Hundreds of Mid-Missourians filled the Capital 8 Theater Saturday night in hopes of glimpsing the stars of “Apparitional” as they strolled down the red carpet. Filmed in Jefferson City last spring, the movie is a tale about a TV crew of paranormal investigators who are trapped in a haunted prison.

The film proved to be a popular hit with local audience members who purchased enough tickets to sell out three theaters — including two at midnight — on Saturday.

Playing the role of a waitress, Jefferson Citian M’Liss Saph walked down the red carpet in a red-and-black chiffon dress and was interviewed by emcee Shae Marie Eickhoff, who talked to all the cast members about their contributions.

“It’s fun and exciting,” Saph said. 

Saph’s friend, Roger Martin, escorted her into the theater. “It feels a bit surreal,” he said. 

People of all ages came to see the Hollywood-style premiere. 

Two 13-year-olds — Alissa Perkins and Adrian Maddox — stood behind the velvet ropes that separated the brightly lit red carpet area from the rest of the lobby. 

“I just found about it last night, but it’s really exciting,” Maddox said. 

Asked if they wanted to be in the movies someday, both girls gave shy nods. “I think I’d like to be more involved in drama productions,” Maddox added.

Armed with a walkie-talkie, Tina Shoemaker helped set the pace for people as they stepped out of the limousines and onto the red carpet. For her, the experience was a first.

“I’m making sure they make their marks to have their pictures and video taken,” Shoemaker said. 

Shoemaker said the entire event has been “very interesting, very fun” to plan. 

“It was just so much fun to see everybody turn out here in the lobby. It doesn’t happen every day here in Jefferson City,” she added.

Many people involved with the production noted Chris Wilson with the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau was instrumental in bringing the production to the Capital City in the first place. 

Asked why he worked so hard on the project, Wilson attributed his desire to the connection he made early on with the film’s director, Andrew P. Jones. 

Wilson said: “When I was talking to Andrew Jones on the phone, I could tell he was a genuine person and a hard worker. He’s really passionate about his work. We had a lot of good conversations about what he has done in the past and I just wanted to help him out if we could. The more we spoke, the better we thought we could help him with his vision.” 

Wilson encouraged the director to scout Jefferson City as a serious location. He piqued the director’s interest by sending him photos of the prison’s gothic architecture and astonishing decrepitude.

“The big thing was getting him to Jefferson City so we could get him to see the housing units,” Wilson said. 

Once he saw the buildings, Jones knew immediately he’d found the right location to shoot his movie. 

“The first time I stepped in, I was in love,” Jones said. 

The hospitality extended to the cast and crew — who mostly are from California —  also made the shoot in Jefferson City a joy. It was a theme they sounded repeatedly.

In comparison to shooting in Los Angeles, Jones said working in Jefferson City was a breeze. 

“We just kept saying, ‘We’re never shooting in Los Angeles again,’” Jones said. 

Director of Photography Warren Yeager said: “You guys have been so great to us. We came here in November and December and we came back now.” He drew laughter when he joked: “You know, I grew up in the Midwest and you people are nicer than the people in California.”

Many people also thought the production was good for Jefferson City, and not only because it provided a small boost to the local economy. 

“I thought it was really great for Jefferson City in a couple of different ways,” said City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus, who attended the evening’s events with his wife and two sons. “If more and more movies are filmed here, it’s good for the local economy. But it’s also good for our quality of life.

“If you look around, you can see an interesting mix of people, young and old, conservatives and hipsters. That’s what makes a community come alive.”

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