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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