Due to popular demand, a second screening has been added for the Klamath Falls premiere of the movie “Phoenix, Oregon,” which was primarily filmed in Klamath Falls.
Produced by Joma Films, an Ashland-based film studio, “Phoenix, Oregon” made its world premiere at the Ashland Independent Film Festival last week. A planned screening and question-and-answer session with the filmmakers at Pelican Cinemas in Klamath Falls on Thursday, May 2 at 7 p.m. has sold out. A second, staggered screening and Q&A in another one of the cinemas theaters will also be held at Pelican Cinemas starting at 7:30 p.m. Available to answer audience questions will be the film’s director, Gary Lundgren, and producer Annie Lundgren.
“Phoenix, Oregon” is the fourth feature-length film produced by Joma Films. Their previous works filmed in Southern Oregon include “Calvin Marshall” (2009), “Redwood Highway” (2014), and “Black Road” (2016).
“Phoenix, Oregon” tells the story of two friends who amid a midlife crisis choose to leave their jobs to restore an old, rundown bowling alley and serve what they consider to be the world’s greatest pizza. The film stars James Le Gros and Jesse Borrego, along with supporting cast Lisa Edelstein, Rey Gallegos, Diedrich Bader, and Kevin Corrigan.
Le Gros is a veteran actor who has appeared in numerous television shows, including roles on “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Girls, Justified,” “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order,” “Ally McBeal,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and the HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce.” His film credits include “Drugstore Cowboy,” “A Birder’s Guide to Everything,” “Big Miracle,” “Visioneers,” and the Joma Films’-produced “Redwood Highway.”
Borrego too has an extensive acting career stretching back to the 1980s, appearing in television series such as “24,” “Miami Vice,” “ER,” “Dexter,” “CSI: Miami,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” and “Married … with Children.” His film credits include roles in “Mi Vida Loca,” “I Like it Like That,” “Con Air,” and “The New World,” among others.
Bader may be the most recognizable actor from the cast for casual viewers of film and television. The veteran character actor has appeared in many films and TV shows, but is perhaps best known for his role as Oswald on “The Drew Carey Show” from 1995-2004. Bader has worked previously with Joma Films, appearing in the film “Calvin Marshall.”
It was the screening of “Black Road” at the annual Klamath Independent Film Festival in Klamath Falls that ultimately led to “Phoenix, Oregon” being filmed primarily in Klamath Falls rather than the community for which the movie is named. The Lundgren filmmakers at the time were already developing the script for “Phoenix, Oregon” and were actively scouting potential bowling alleys in which to film.
After the screening of “Black Road” the Lundgrens were contacted by Ben and Kim Piper, Klamath Falls residents and business owners, about making a film together. Ryan Niemi was brought aboard for use of a warehouse for various film sets, and with the assistance of numerous businesses and local talent in front of and behind the camera, Klamath Falls became the site for filming the majority of “Phoenix, Oregon” in May 2018.
With the help of Klamath Film, numerous local Klamath County-based filmmakers and actors participated in the production as crew and extras. Hanscam Bowling became the centerpiece bowling alley for the film’s setting, while the Cerulean Hotel and adjacent Waffle Hut became a home-away-from-home for the film’s cast and crew. Additional scenes were shot on locations such as the Winema Hotel, Silvertip Trailer Park, The Daily Bagel, Italianna’s Ristorante and Roosters Steak & Chop House.
The film has received high praise, including Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) Artistic and Executive Director Richard Herskowitz, who hailed it as, “The best bowling film since “The Big Lebowski.”
Later this summer Joma Films intends to take the film on a 50-city U.S. tour to various film festivals and special screenings.
“Phoenix, Oregon” is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for language.