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12/12/2013 6:00:00 AM
Film made in Kingman has some concerned about city's image
Courtesy
Courtesy
Seth McCusker, 9, a Kingman native who now lives in Bullhead City, plays a nameless boy searching for meaning to his life in the film “Kingman,” produced by Kingman native James McCusker. The movie is a character piece about the economic challenges in small towns across America and how their residents choose to overcome them.  (Courtesy)
Seth McCusker, 9, a Kingman native who now lives in Bullhead City, plays a nameless boy searching for meaning to his life in the film “Kingman,” produced by Kingman native James McCusker. The movie is a character piece about the economic challenges in small towns across America and how their residents choose to overcome them. (Courtesy)

KINGMAN - Dora Manley isn't the type of person who normally gets involved with controversy.

But Manley, who owns Dora's Beale Street Deli, couldn't hold her tongue this week about a short film called "Kingman" that will be screened today at Beale Celebrations, an event and celebration center where Manley is in charge of party planning and catering.

She wasn't happy with what she believes will be a negative portrayal of the city, especially with the revitalization of its downtown and the upcoming International Route 66 Festival next fall.

"I looked at the movie trailer and it doesn't depict Kingman in a good light," said Manley. "I believe in artistic freedom, and we're going to have the screening at Beale Celebrations because that's our business, but I don't think this film is a positive thing for Kingman."

Los Angeles-based producer James McCusker, who grew up in Kingman and participated in theater at Kingman High School, said those who are concerned after seeing the trailer shouldn't worry.

"This is a character piece about choices," said McCusker. "The concept is how the economy affects people and the decisions they are forced to make because of it. The movie trailer doesn't say anything about the film because I didn't want to give the ending away. But I can tell you that it's an uplifting story that people will enjoy."

The free screening will take place at 7 p.m. today at 201 N. Fourth St., with a meet and greet for the first half hour, followed by an introduction about the movie and the screening.

Afterward, guests can mingle and talk with McCusker and director Adrian Szasz. Free refreshments will be served during the event.

The fictional film, which lasts 15 minutes and 27 seconds, is an in-depth look into a small southwestern town hit hard by economic woes. A man struggles to provide for his family, while a young boy searches for something more. By the end of the film, both will make a decision that changes their lives forever.

McCusker said the movie depicts the economic challenges in small towns across America and how their residents choose to overcome them.

The purpose of the film isn't to slam Kingman, said McCusker, nor is it a commentary on the city's condition. McCusker said he has always loved the look and feel of Kingman, with its colorful scenery, historic downtown and beautiful mountains, and he wanted to embrace that in a film.

It was named "Kingman" because the director liked the city's name.

McCusker said he and Szasz had fun casting, scouting and shooting the film in Kingman and are excited to screen it here. McCusker said he is looking forward to sharing some of his work with the community that helped to shape him and his future.

Local talent was used in the film, with parts given to Dave Coffin, Trish Ford, Teanna Barnes, Neil Bellew, Damon Henderson, Carmella Hynes, Matt Finch, Seth McCusker and Krista Cunningham.

So far, said McCusker, there have been plenty of comments, both good and bad, excited and defensive, on the web page that house the minute-long movie trailer.

McCusker said people should come to the screening and watch the entire film before making assumptions about how it reflects on Kingman and its people.

No reservations are required to attend the screening, but Aberrant Force Productions, which made the film, is hoping to get a head count through confirmations at its Facebook page, located at www.facebook.com/kingmanfilm.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Article comment by: town crier

How did it create a false image of the town? Kingman is a crap-town and has very little hope for a future. I feel bad for those kids that have to call it home...what a dead end town. Thank God my family was able to get out of there after a short stay that seemed too long. It's a depressing dump full of dollar stores and a Wal-Mart that doubles as a camp ground for RVs. College grads would have what opportunities there besides Taco Bell or some low pay crap job at another fast food dive? Your school system is terrible and MCC is a joke of a community college. Kids, get out as fast as possible and head East or Northwest. I've never experienced a town loaded from top to bottom with such ignorant morons. Save yourself kids!

Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Article comment by: sick of corruption

To bad they didn't put the board of supers using the color of law to harass individuals who tried to recall them. Or nepotism in the Super mayor position.

Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

oh, btw, the Miner has my permission to provide my e-mail address to the film producers, if they should for some reason make inquiry. I actually made considerable effort while there to engage them in conversation, but others absorbed their time, and I had an 8 A.M. appointment the following morning at the VA Hospital in Las Vegas, and finally left.

Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2013
Article comment by: last words (for now) .....

It seems to me that films should have the potential to prevent truth from being taken to the grave, and for a variety of reasons (brevity, the producers not spending time with the right people, etc.), this film did nothing to avert this. I'm still in favour of doing indie films, but they're just going to have to get much better at accessing the right people and knowing which toes to step on, and how. Kingman is a heartbreak ready to be unveiled, a fraud badly in need of exposing, a collection of people with widely varying backgrounds, some of whom could never be brought to understand what I just wrote. But then some people wouldn't know a New World Order if it came up and bit them on their heritage.

Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Smith

I wasn’t impressed by the implications the film makes about Kingman. I’d feel much better if, during the credits the audience would see this:

Disclaimer:
The Producers of this film wish to thanks the People of Kingman Arizona for their gracious help and hospitality while we were filming.
We had to work hard to make the town look as bleak, and the citizens look as eccentric as portrayed in our film.
We look forward to going back and working there again.


Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013
Article comment by: julies mom julies

Hey, we need to take the good with the bad, it has the name of the City in it's title, perfect advertisement for the community, besides Carmella Hynes is in the pic, that is also a good thing!

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

well well, they're submitting it to 48 film festivals, beginning evidently with Idyllwild in January. Pretty unbelievable central scene in the film of three women treating a little boy sadisticallly, and the old homeless guy waking up with the kid in his old car.....let's just say "not nowadays". The audience seemed evenly divided - locals appreciating the effort, city officials being outspoken (that's a nice term for "pissed off", which is what one of them said loudly). I'm in favour of this, and hope the filmmakers don't take my words as discouraging them from future efforts.

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

Where else will the film be screening if I miss it on its opening? Can anyone put up a post on that?

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: Kelly Tanner

I'm excited to see this film. Regardless of city, state, locale, there are bad parts and bad decisions people and youth make in EVERY one of them. Kingman is a charming town, (being from a big city and living here 9 years), I personally love it. I embrace my community. I hope this film will move people to do more in the community to make the "bad" things better! Empowering people to act is success! It's starts with WE.

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman resident Jalbert

I think that it's great you have taken a chance with this film. I for one look forward to seeing the film and your artistic perspective of Kingman. Anyone who considers their self a Kingmannite is going to have their own view of this town good or bad. Thank you for sharing your view with us.

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: The Real Kingman Lad

Well, the young Seth McCusker on the hilltop could certainly have been me in 1951 except I would have been watching an A-bomb test off to the northwest.

Can't imagine why Ms Manley and others who likely weren't even here in the early post-war years can bristle up when someone paints a Kingman screen image without a rose-colored filter.

In reality, Kingman was the home of so many unscrupulous desperadoes back in those days and still is to this day. The felonious approach to economic survival is a time-tested and often-used Kingman methodology, but certainly not unique to this township.

It’s not surprising that producer McCusker bumped shoulders only with rose-colored Kingman acolytes they are at the fore of the Kingman illusion, as it were. But, I do admire that it seems he was not “sucked in” and may have politely declined a rose-colored filter during his scouting of our local settings.

In his scouting excursions, he obviously missed the slot machines in the club basement of yesteryear and other local dungeon goodies that lie just below the surface of the Kingman landscape. But, that may be for a future sequel, “Kingman – The Early Years”. Need a free script, producer McCusker?


Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: Doing Reseach

Uh... so one person saw 55 seconds of a video online - with no dialogue or plot - and now "Film has some concerned about city's image"?

This is news? How is one person’s marginally informed opinion news?

Dora, perhaps we can convince the director to release a special edition with dozens of puppies and kittens digitally inserted into every scene... maybe that will help.


Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

the city's image? is this film scheduled for showing at Cannes, Sundance, or Toronto? Anyway, unless the kid is depicted being cheated out of his money by a talking rooster at the County Fair, I can't imagine any content that would be unfairly derogatory to Kingman.

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: just a fact

Being a long time resident of Kingman. First arrived in 1955, I have been involved with the HS many of those years and this is the first time I have ever heard of KHS or Kingman, for that matter, ever having a "theater" other than the movies on Stockton Hill and I don't think that is what he is talking about.

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“…producer James McCusker, who grew up in Kingman… The fictional film… the movie depicts the economic challenges in small towns across America… It was named ‘Kingman’ because the director liked the city's name.”

Hint to Ms Manley – unless specifically identified as a documentary a film should always be looked upon as a work of fiction. You know, like The Flintstones not being a documentary.


Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

Kingman is a nice neglected town like so many. It's just a movie. If you are so concerned about the image of Kingman, perhaps because there is truth in the short film? Make Kingman better instead of picking in the film-makers.



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