Local film pokes Bremerton fun

"Courtesy Photos I'll Be Here 'Til I Leave stars Dominic Dofelmier and Maria Knox as a filmmaker and his girlfriend, who both want to flee Bremerton. "

“A young filmmaker can escape Bremerton if he can transform his recurring monkey dream into a cinematic marvel. That’s the premise of the comedy I’ll Be Here ‘Til I Leave,” a locally-produced film that features perhaps the largest cast of Kitsap performers ever. Co-written and produced by Kitsap natives Ryan Wise and Alan Higbee – both 24 -the movie debuts at 8 p.m. Friday at the Admiral Theatre in downtown Bremerton. Tickets are $10, and can be purchased at Pete’s Jersey Subs, Kitsap Music, Spiro’s and the Westside Burrito Connection. Dominic Dofelmier plays the young filmmaker, and Maria Knox is his girlfriend. The story unfolds over the course of one day, which is supposed to begin with the filmmaker selling the distribution rights for his film about a recurring dream about a gorilla – who just might represent his father. The movie deal would enable the pair to leave Bremerton and set up a new life in New York City. The movie was filmed over the course of more than a year, and features about 70 local actors. It also showcases music by 25 local bands, including Sorority House, The Lesbians, The Dan Page Trip, Hafacat and Butterface. Filmed at such local sites as Spiro’s and the Manette Saloon, the film makes references to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and to a certain type of local woman known as a Bremelo.” But the themes in the story are universal, the filmmakers say. If you don’t live in Bremerton, you can still get it,” said Wise. It’s about growing up in a town you don’t like.” The film poster features this warning: This movie may be offensive to Bremelos, shipyard workers, Mormons, mullets, Mormons with mullets and people who lack a sense of humor.” The film is co-written by Wise and Higbee, and directed, edited and filmed by Wise. The two – who form Blue Lame Productions – financed the picture themselves for about $40,000. Originally about three hours, I’ll Be Here ‘Til I Leave” has been trimmed to 92 minutes, with Wise putting on the finishing touches last week. Even his partner hadn’t seen the final cut. There’s no focus group here,” said Wise. Higbee graduated from South Kitsap High in 1995, Wise from Central Kitsap High the same year. But they had already been making movies together for years. The two met when they became stepbrothers at the age of 10. They began writing and improvising video comedies as kids, pooling their money as ninth graders to buy a camera at a pawn shop. Their first audience was their large extended family, watching the flicks in the basement of their Silverdale home. The two continued to collaborate after their parents split in 1993. Wise studied film at The Evergreen State College, and then interned with an ad agency in Los Angeles. He also wrote a script for a comedy called Mafia Busboys,” which he showed to Higbee and friend Carl Severson when he came home in 1997. The 30-minute film was shot in Bremerton and Olympia during the course of six weeks. We didn’t know what we were doing,” Wise recalls. It was kind of practice,” said Higbee. Mafia Busboys” is the story of two busboys (Higbee and Severson) who are trying to rise through the ranks of notorious crime families by gaining the respect of the neighborhood’s top boss. The film premiered in September 1998 at Bremerton’s Charleston Cinema, and sold about 400 copies on video. Everyone’s got bootleg copies – as long as they’re watching it,” Higbee said. I’ll Be Here ‘Til I Leave” is a more ambitious project. The duo tried unsuccessfully to host open auditions; in the end, We wrote characters for the people we knew,” Higbee said. Having a shooting schedule that took more than a year presented some continuity problems. Cast members would show up with new body piercings and tattoos; a 5-year-old boy lost a front tooth partway through filming. The editing process began last October. A rough cut of the picture -filmed with a digital video camera – caught the attention of AMSELL Entertainment, which is seeking distribution deals throughout the world, the duo said. WHAT: Premiere of local film I’ll Be Here ‘Til I Leave” WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday WHERE: Admiral Theatre, 5th and Pacific, downtown Bremerton ADMISSION: $10 TICKETS: Pete’s Jersey Subs, Kitsap Music, Spiro’s, Westside Burrito Connection “

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