An independent movie filmed in Lewis County, featuring notable Centralia and Chehalis locations, is now streamable on Amazon.com and will soon have a one-time showing at the Midway Cinema.
“Maysville” is a coming of age story set in 1920s Appalachia. It follows a boy struggling through the challenges of abuse, tragedy and love. Nearing adulthood, he ends up in Maysville, Tennessee, where he tries to leave behind a haunting past.
The story is fictional, though it pulls from lived moments in writer, director, producer and editor Leslie Goyette’s life growing up on Furnace Mountain in Kentucky.
“The things that the boys do in the film are things that me and my sister did. We played with guns,” Goyette said. “We drove the tractors. We used to climb 50 feet into the top of the barn just to climb up there. And the thought of my kids doing that nowadays terrifies me. But you know, we worked in tobacco, we were tobacco farmers and I know hard work.”
The movie begins with a focus on a friendship between two young boys. Goyette’s son is an actor and had worked with the son of Seattle-based filmmaker and Maysville producer Michele Englehart.
Out of the blue, Goyette sent Englehart the script.
“The story was so gripping. There's something that happens within Page 15 or 20 that is like 'Oh did that just happen?' And so I got to that part and I texted Leslie and I said, 'OMG.' She's like, ‘OMG good? Or OMG bad?’ That's when I picked up the phone,” Englehart said.
With the two boys cast, the filmmakers began scouting locations.
A friend recommended Centralia and Chehalis for the historic drama and put them in touch with Mary Kurtzbein, who volunteers at the Borst Home in Centralia. The home was perfectly period appropriate and became one of the main set locations.
From there, pieces fell together serendipitously. Jeremy Wildhaber, owner of Jeremy’s, became another location scout and was a chef, set dresser and unit production manager. Dave Freeman, owner of the Tower Tavern, volunteered his time and talent as the behind-the-scenes photographer. Angie and Taj Brumfield, owners of the Lewis and Clark Hotel, allowed filming in the hotel at no cost. Flint DeKoker, owner of Centralia store Junk 'N Da Trunk, provided props and appeared as an extra along with several other locals.
“We asked a lot of them and they volunteered that, and the only thing that we can turn around and say is that Maysville is a love letter to Centralia and the people,” Goyette said.
Though the producers did not disclose the exact number for the movie’s final budget, Goyette said it was around what it would cost to “buy a brand new souped-up truck. If you were going to buy a nice F-350 or something.” Whereas the average studio-filmed movie costs several million dollars.
“The feedback that we're getting on the film is that, ‘Wow, this looks like a much bigger, like more of a studio-based film than what the budget was, by far,’” Englehart said.
As a period piece, the producers said Maysville did not fit the avant garde qualities of many indie pieces in film festivals, so they instead released it to Amazon, where it can now be rented for $3. As a member of a “family of storytellers,” Goyette said the story may be different from modern movies, but was one she felt compelled to tell.
On Thursday, Dec. 16, Maysville will have its only theater showing at the Midway Cinema at 8 p.m. There will only be 90 tickets available on a first-come basis. Tickets can be bought at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5323726. Extras will be sold at the door.
For the first time, these iconic Twin Cities scenes, including the Chehalis-Centralia Steam Train, the Lewis County Courthouse and others will be visible on the big screen and the home screen. For Kurtzbein and other volunteers, immortalizing those locations through the movie was the greatest reward.
“We just have an amazing community here. And so that's what it became about is just having that investment in our community,” Kurtzbein said. “Feeling the effects of, now that it's released, people are able to go and see the labor of our love.”
Other local contributors the filmmakers wanted to shout out are David King of the King Agricultural Museum, the crew at the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad and Museum, Tiffany Etherton and Jessica Kearsey. Watch the trailer for Maysville here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bduO2vFRcyc.