A bit of Hollywood is coming to Jefferson City this Saturday when "Apparitional," a supernatural thriller shot at the now closed Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) late last year, premieres with a red carpet followed by a midnight screening at the Goodrich Capital 8 Theatres.
The Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) in conjunction with the Discover Jefferson City Foundation will host a series of events that day, including a free panel discussion for the public followed by a "meet and greet" with director Andrew P. Jones and cast. This event is open to the public and will be in the MSP's historic A-Hall from 6-7:30 p.m. As the film centers on a group of ghost hunters, MSP Ghost Tours (at $25) will be available too, starting at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Prison Brews is holding an all-day happy hour with food and drink specials.
"It couldn't be more perfect that the first people in the country to see "Apparitional' are the people in Jefferson City," said Jones, who lives in Los Angeles. "Not only did we receive unprecedented help and support from the community while making the film, but we truly feel that we have made life-long friends. It's like we're coming home."
According to a press release from the CVB, Jones investigated shooting at almost every old, closed prison in the country. He chose the MSP because of the esthetics and production value, but also for the "level of cooperation from the CVB and community."
He and the cast and crew spent a week shooting the independent film in late November at the MSP and other locations including the old cafeteria of the Selinger Center at St. Peters Church. The production also shot in Los Angeles and stars several Hollywood actors.
Local theater veteran Shae Marie Eickhoff served as the Missouri casting director on the shoot and helped Jones during his 19 days of prep work here in Jefferson City. During the audition process, she cast 11 locals in the shoot as extras or for a speaking part, including M'Liss Saph, Melanie Stock, Jay Shipman, Matt Bailey, Grant Lenhardt, Michael Moyer, Darin Garnett, Funtez Robinson and Rich Burdge.
She also tapped two News Tribune staffers - her husband, Dale Eickhoff, commercial print manager, played a police officer, and Dan Walsh, graphic designer, an EMT. Some of the Missouri-based crew included first assistant director Anthony Cabral and Springfield-based Mike and Lily Strain, who handled special effects. Andy Meyer of Aunt Max Entertainment in St. Louis served as a grip, who works with the camera crew and handles the lighting and rigging.
The crew will walk the red carpet, which begins at 11 p.m. Saturday outside the Goodrich Capital 8 Theatres (weather permitting) leading up to the premiere of the film at midnight. Local funeral home owner Reid Millard is donating a limo for the director, cast and crew to arrive in style. Media and mock photographers will be along the red carpet.
"Andrew P. Jones, the director/producer/writer of Apparitional, reached out to us after the film wrapped and expressed an interest in holding the premiere in Jefferson City," said Chris Wilson, CVB's film and sports sales manager.
"The cast and crew enjoyed their time in our community so much they wanted to make the trip from Los Angeles back to Jefferson City to spend a few days revisiting some of their favorite spots," he said.
Since announcing the movie premiere, the CVB has received tremendous feedback from not only the Jefferson City community, but from fans of the MSP across the state. Tickets are selling fast and the CVB is contemplating adding an additional theater to accommodate those interested in attending the midnight screening. An early screening will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
For more information on the Apparitional premiere, contact the CVB at 573-632-2820 or visit www.visitjeffersoncity.com/apparitional. More information on the film can be found at www.picturepalacefilms.com. Advance tickets for Saturday's screenings are available via the Capital 8 website.