Is the Western as a movie genre dead?

ANDERSON — Is the Western as a movie genre dead?

Not if a local man has his way.

Sean Hunt of Anderson is currently preparing to film another full-length motion picture. A Western this time. A Western based on a passage from the book of Revelation. A Western called “The White Rider.”
“It all began at Christmas of 2010, when my father took me to see the new ‘True Grit,’” Hunt recalls. “At that point, I despised Westerns. I thought they were ridiculous — a guy in blue jeans with a gun.

“Fortunately, though, ‘True Grit’ was so well done, that it made me want to do it.”

The title is based on Revelation 19:11: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”

“I thought, ‘what part of the Bible would people relate to, what part would I be able to dramatize and people would get something out of?’ Then I came across Revelation 19:11 and got the title “The White Rider.”

The film is set at Christmastime 1865, in the aftermath of the Lincoln assassination. A villain rules a small town with an iron fist, and it’s up to a young woman to find the only person who can stop him — the legendary White Rider.

“She’s not sure if he even exists or not, but she has to have faith to be able to find him,” Hunt explained.
On her journey, she meets with several characters who help her find the White Rider.

“The White Rider is, of course, a euphanism for Jesus Christ,” Hunt said.

Hunt has been making movies and working on video projects literally since he was a kid. His first project was when he was a sixth grader at Anderson Elementary, when he made a short movie on a young man’s battle against “the evil Drug Monster.”

That 2000 film lasted just 10 minutes, but set Hunt on his career path. Since then, he has made 22 films, with his first feature length movie — one more than 75 minutes long — coming during his junior year of high school. Another followed his senior year.

These films were for MADD — Mothers Against Drunk Driving — and were made in response to student surveys about docu-dramas held each year dramatizing the consequences of drinking and driving. Many students had mentioned they could not see what was going on. Hunt came up with an idea to film a docu-drama as a movie, enlisting the help of emergency personnel, firefighters and law enforcement in the process.

After graduation, Hunt studied film production at Webster University in St. Louis. While in college, he did two more full-length films. His first, “Platinum,” premiered at the Flick Theater in Anderson. His second was “The Swing Set,” a story based on a McDonald County high schooler who battled cancer. It was, Hunt said, his most successful to date.

“They showed it in five movie theaters,” he said. “I was able to get DVD sales and T-shirts for the first time.”

Hunt said he hopes his fifth film — to also be his third theatrical release — will be shown in 500 theaters.
“I was thankful that ‘The Swingset,’ in the five theaters it was run in, was more successful than ‘Mars Needs Moms,’ ” he said.

Filming of “The White Rider,” will begin in mid-December in Grove, Okla., the filmmaker said. Hunt said all of the locations have been set, most of the costumes have been gathered and the starring actors have been cast, but the production still lacked a few things.

“We still need extras,” he said. “At this point, we’re needing folks who can come in to handle the equipment needs and food. A hungry actor is not a good actor, unless you want to channel that anger.”

Between 50 and 100 extras will be used in the production, and period costumes are needed. Hunt said with costumes, an eye for detail is a must.

“I have to be critical,” he said. “I want to costume that work as authentically as possible.”

Hunt said he wanted the look to be more of the television series “Hatfields and McCoys,” less of the 1970s series “Little House on the Prairie.”

The cast includes Cesar Garcia, a classmate from Webster; actress Kara Smith; and veteran actor Bud Cook.  

Those wanting to be extras must prepare and deliver a one-minute monologue and have a headshot, Hunt said. On the back of the headshot, please list previous acting experience.

The film is to be completed in the fall of 2014, Hunt said.

To help in the production or to set up an audition for an extra, please call Hunt at 342-6374.