KAYSVILLE — A Davis County community film project is moving up in show business.
Janie Wyatt Wilkinson, the movie’s associate producer and actress for its supporting lead Aunt Nora, said those involved in making the film were “elated” when they found out about Megaplex’s decision.
“We knew we had a good film. What we didn’t know is there would be an outlet anywhere that would recognize it and give it a chance,” Wilkinson said. “We’re incredibly appreciative to the Megaplex.”
Wilkinson was the one who originally reached out to Megaplex about the movie and its successful run at Kaysville Theatre.
- From left: "Before Your Time" composer Tawnya Goodson Shaner, director Lucas James McGraw and composer Phil Stokes hold a soundtrack and poster from the film. Provided by Janie Wyatt Wilkinson
- A scene from "Before Your Time" shows Janie Wyatt Wilkinson, front right, playing the community film's supporting lead Aunt Nora alongside Erin Black, front left, acting as Livie Foster. Community Film Project
- The Community Film Project's "Before Your Time" main character Dylan Foster, played by Landon Kasten, finds the bucket list his father wrote years earlier in a scene from the movie. Community Film Project
- Ryan Boam plays the guitar in a scene from the Community Film Project's "Before Your Time," acting as character Alex Murphy. Community Film Project
- Landon Kasten, left, and Erin Black act as Dylan and Livie Foster in the Community Film Project's "Before Your Time." Community Film Project
“We sold out eight of the first nine nights, and we were actually pretty stunned by that,” Wilkinson said. “Then it kept rolling from there, and we kept beating any other movie that’s there hand over fist.”
After Megaplex film buyer Cal Gunderson saw the movie, Wilkinson said he simply asked her where she would like the film to run.
“That was really, really exciting,” Wilkinson said. “He said he thought we had a great little movie there, and I think it’s been a shock to people.”
Wilkinson said the community film was created on a budget of less than $15,000, made with all local, nonprofessional actors through the Community Film Project, a group dedicated to bringing "a stronger presence of film to Davis County," according to its website.
“That’s what’s caught everybody by surprise because they look at it and they’re expecting it to be hokey; it is not,” Wilkinson said. “It is a full movie with 35 original songs and original musical score. The cinematography is beautiful. It’s got a great, touching and funny storyline with it that’s moving.”
“Before Your Time” tells the story of 17-year-old Dylan and his two younger sisters, who are forced to move after their mother dies. Dylan finds a bucket list written by his father years earlier and determines to finish it, although doing so might force his father to face a past he is anxious to leave behind.
“What I’ve found about this movie is people are getting from it what they need from it,” Wilkinson said. “People are either laughing because it’s got so much humor in it, (or) a lot of them are in tears because there’s such a sweet, deep meaning to this movie.”
A distributor is now looking at the film, who might take the movie statewide or even nationwide based on its performance in Centerville, Wilkinson said. “Before Your Time” will also be shown at several film festivals across the U.S. and will eventually be released on DVD.
Wilkinson said much like participating in community theater, being involved in a community film project like “Before Your Time” helps community members to feel a part of a warm and welcoming group and provides a venue for those who have the need to express themselves artistically.
“It’s good for the emotional health of the community to have the arts there, and film is another avenue that’s just been untapped,” Wilkinson said.
“Before Your Time” will be shown at Centerville’s Legacy Crossing Megaplex Theatres four times per day except Sunday from Dec. 8-14.