By Kate Raddatz

EXCELSIOR, Minn. (WCCO) – The bright lights of Hollywood are shining in the west metro. The city of Excelsior is the backdrop for the newest movie being shot in Minnesota.

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“One Song” is a family drama starring several Hollywood veterans, including Sally Kellerman, Mike Farrell, Barbara Eden and Melissa Gilbert.

It centers on a woman whose endured physical and emotional abuse from her husband, which has filtered down to her children.

On a night out, she meets a new friend who urges her to sing for the first time in years, which changes her life.

Unlike most movies, this film is a true independent effort. Writer/director Scott Thompson’s company “My Town Productions” has a unique grass-roots model.

“We had several towns very interested,” Thompson said. “We chose Excelsior mainly because of the infrastructure here, and it best fit the genre of the movie.”

My Town Productions pitched the movie to several cities looking for funders. Excelsior’s community came up with 51 percent of the $190,000 budget.

Bridget Cronin, executive producer with My Town Productions and Killing Joke Films, says the community now owns the film and will reap the benefits.

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“We want to get local people involved and invested because then the profits come back to the community, rather than go to New York or Los Angeles,” Cronin said.

Investors aren’t just writing checks for the film. They’re involved in the entire production, from helping on the set, assisting the actors and even making food for the crew.

“The profits for the lifetime of the film come back to the people in the community. That’s what I love about it,” she said. “It really does raise the economic activity long term.”

Laura Hotvet of the Excelsior Chamber of Commerce echoed that importance.

“It’s been given accounting jobs, talent, local resources, sounds and light. The community really owns the film and will continue to keep it in town where we’ll have the rights to do with it what we’d like,” Hotvet said.

The movie is scheduled to premiere this spring at the Dock Cinema in Excelsior, and then will be shown at film festivals around the world. Thompson expects the movie to be shopped around and wanted by different promoters.

“People will soon be able to, you know, maybe click on Netflix and watch Excelsior anywhere around the world instantly on their computer, which would be great,” he said.

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My Town Productions is filming three movies in Minnesota. The next will be in Zumbrota. It’s also currently looking for a town for a Christmas movie that will be shot in February.

Kate Raddatz