By Cindy Teixeira / For The Chronicle
When it comes to making a murder mystery movie, the best person to write the script and direct the film is most likely a real cop who investigates real murders.
Maybe that’s why it was so easy for former Tenino Police Chief Fred Doughty to create a believable mystery. And maybe that’s why Sam Patrick, also a former officer of the Tenino department, was the perfect person to co-direct and edit said film.
Tenino plays itself in the film “Cinebar,” which is still in production, being shot by Celtic America Film & Media and Digital 1 Media. The two companies joined forces last spring for an old-fashioned “whodunit” in Tenino and other locations in the south Puget Sound area.
“Tenino is a really quaint town that’s gotten better over time. It fits small-town America for the movie,” Doughty said.
Celtic was founded by Doughty and Digital 1 is owned by Patrick. Doughty’s son Andrew is the chief sound engineer and musical composer. Louisa Shimamoto is a producer.
Patrick was a police sergeant in Tenino for seven years and retired in 2005, said Fred Doughty, adding Patrick still teaches at the police academy.
The plot centers on a disgruntled Seattle Police Department detective who winds up as the police chief of Tenino, a peaceful, rural town. He’s raising his granddaughter and enjoying life until a body is found in the Cinebar River, the work of a serial killer. Back stories create a panoramic film with as many interesting characters as there are in the actual town.
Doughty, who left Tenino in the 1990s, continues to work as a private investigator for Thurston and Mason counties in the public defender’s office. He said he is currently working on 13 murder cases, and one fictitious case — “Cinebar.”
With such expert perspective guiding the film, Doughty said it is unlikely anyone will properly solve the case early in the film.
Fewer than half the scenes are left to shoot and the filmmakers hope to have it completed by the end of the year.
The outdoor shots were scheduled in a tight time frame for outdoor continuity and filmed in Thurston, Lewis and Mason counties. There are 30-40 actors, Doughty said, and about 100 people involved with the film. Fifteen of the actors are main characters and murder suspects.
“Fingers and toes crossed for a Dec. 1 wrap,” Doughty said, “and then it goes into post production work.”
Doughty said his company has done small projects for the last 10 years and this is the first full-length feature. Running time will be about 90 minutes. Once he came up with the story, he put out casting calls through emails and his Facebook page.
“It got a tremendous response,” he said.
Because he and Patrick have all the equipment, the budget is still under $1,000 half way through, he added.
A premiere will be held at the Fox Theatre in Centralia and they are looking to work with other theaters for shows in surrounding areas, as well as pitch it to film festivals. They will also put the movie on DVD and have it sold in stores and online. They hope to share the profits with a youngster they know who has cancer and underwent a transplant last week. They learned about her while making the movie.
Interested in a Movie Career?
Anyone interested in participating in future movie productions with Celtic America Film & Media Company should find the page on Facebook and send a private message. They are already casting for a family-friendly, dramatic romance comedy. Company founder Fred Doughty said, “The next project is going to be a wonderful flick. I’m really excited about it.”