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Dublin natives Dalton Harpe and Jack Walker come full circle filming movie in Dexte | Local headline
by Natalie Davi
Feb 10, 2007 | 345 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By NATALIE DAVIS

Though hailing from the same hometown, filmmakers

Jack Walker and Dalton Harpe had never actually met

until about a year and a half ago.

After crossing paths at the Macon Film Festival, a

conversation later ensued that eventually led to a

project filmed right here in Laurens County.

“A week later we talked about the festival and maybe

working together,” said Walker, whose short film, “Tin

Man,” showed at the festival and subsequently won

critical acclaim.

A recent graduate of the Savannah College of Art &

Design, Harpe said he always had the goal in the back

of his mind to shoot a film in his hometown.

“I wrote it for my home,” said the 2001 Trinity grad,

whose production company, StandOff Studios, is based

in Augusta.

The script he crafted, “12 Fluid Ounces,” received

funding and shooting actually began in Dexter last

August. The cast and crew shot for 13 days or so before

returning last month. The bulk of the production is now

complete.

“We got the funding and we started shooting,” said

Walker.

The film’s plot, which focuses on a young girl and her

family who under extreme circumstances are forced to

reside in a cabin cellar, requires a number of specific

details both Walker and Harpe said they had to keep in

mind when pinpointing locations.

“It was very specific what we were looking for,” Walker

said.

Their search took them to area farmhouses which later

led them to plantation homes, which eventually led to

an old house on Hwy 338 near Dexter. Other farmland

and different settings from throughout Laurens County

are also used in the film.

“We needed to show a family that had money, but

didn’t have it anymore,” said Walker of the family’s

transition through the course of the film.

Both he and Harpe agreed that if they could somehow

make the house work, it would be the perfect locale.

“I said, ‘that’s it, it’s perfect’,” said Harpe of the location

they found along 338.

Even before he started actually writing the script, Harpe

said the movie’s climax all came together in his head.

“The reason I started writing it was for the climax,” he

said.

Inspired by that vision, he hammered out the first draft

of the script in less than three days.

“I sat down at my computer with the climax in my head,”

he said, working for 52 hours on the rough draft, writing

backwards and ironing out scenes as he went along as

he so often does with scripts.

He said he typically spends between 50 and 60 hours

on a draft. A new feature, as yet untitled, came together

initially in just under 50 hours, he said.

“It’s a very tedious process. I usually just hammer it out

to get it done.”

Harpe said his main focus in his drafts is pulling

together the general premise and key lines — the rest

he said, comes together through improvisation.

The multifaceted plot for “12 Fluid Ounces” focuses on

a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a rural

town following the death of the oldest son. Walker plays

a federal agent in the film knee-deep in his own

personal transition.

“He has tragedies in his life that derail him,” he said of

his character, “professionally, spiritually and

emotionally.”

After a demotion lands him on the outs of his

successful career in counterrorism, he is sent on an

undercover mission to investigate the family.

Harpe considers the movie’s entire cast richly talented.

L.A.-based actor Vincent Duvall, who has appeared in

major television dramas including CBS’ “CSI” and

Fox’s “24” plays the father. SCAD student Cara Walters

plays daughter, 17-year-old Elizabeth. Richmond

Arquette, brother of actors Patricia, Rosanna and David,

rounds out the supporting roles.

Harpe held no casting calls for the supporting parts —

he simply went with his gut instinct to round out the

cast.

“I saw people and saw their actions,” he said of his

method for filling the roles, an approach he admits has

not always panned out. “This time, it worked out well.”

He said when he originally cast Walker for the agent’s

role, he had not necessarily anticipated him helping out

in other aspects of the project, but it has certainly been

a benefit. He said he typically works with the same

small team of five or six people who handle sound, art

direction and other key aspects.

“With him coming along as a producer,” said Harpe of

Walker, “it was just great teamwork.”

He said he has learned a lot on the project through the

two of them working together.

“We just learned each other,” he said of their work

together on the film. “We knew what each other would

say before we said it.”

Harpe said filming the movie in his home has been a

quite different experience.

“It was strange coming back home and trying to keep it

under wraps,” he said of the filming, which they have

tried to keep quiet from the general public.

Filming is expected to conclude sometime in March,

and the movie is slated to show at a festival sometime

next year. Harpe said he also finished writing a new

feature a few months ago.

He said Dublin and Laurens County have given them a

lot of support. Local restaurants and businesses have

been generous in their support.

“It was just great, great teamwork.”

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