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unites with her grandfather in Toombs County and the pair learn to navigate their new life and bond over a famous soapbox derby racer called Blue Lightning. The movie features several locations in the area, including the Soapbox Derby Hill at Partin Park, the Bolden family farm, 9 Columns Bed & Breakfast, Burgers on Broad, and several local streets.
When asked how he was able to film the movie in his hometown, coproducer Luther Wardlaw said he did not have to convince the executives much about the location. “I was asked to be a part of this project, and I told them that I would not do the project unless it was filmed in Toombs County,” he explained. “I had heard that there were elements of the Soapbox Derby in the movie, and I told them that I came from an area with a huge reputation for the Derby. I sent them pictures of Derby Hill at [Partin] Park, and they were completely sold.” After convincing others that the movie should be filmed in Toombs County, Wardlaw then met Shianna Bolden at the local G Marie’s Formal Wear store, where she told him about her family farm. He immediately saw potential in the homeplace as a setting for the movie, and soon, the cast was at the farm filming and hanging out with Shianna, her brother Wayde, and her mother, Melissa.
“It was a pretty neat experience,” Melissa commented. “He came out and saw the farm because they were wanting a farm and tractors; we told him we had an older house on the property, and he said it was perfect for the grandfather’s house.” She said the filming crew spent long hours at the farm, coming in early and leaving late in the evening. “It was about a weeklong process of filming several scenes multiple times,” she explained. “Watching the actors and actresses work and seeing the camera people work to get the shot was incredible. One camera man even ran during the filming of a scene to get the shot of the tractor.”
Wayde shared that it was his responsibility to not only serve as the tractor instructor for the actors, but to also do some of the stunt driving. “A lot of the scenes with the tractor being in it, I am driving it,” he remarked. “I taught her (the actress) how to drive it, but she wasn’t very comfortable doing it, so I stepped in.”
Shianna also had a role in helping to prepare scenes for filming, as she would bring the horses in for the scenes. “To me, seeing the process of how they create movies was incredible,” she shared. “Watching movies my entire life, I never had the chance to see the ‘behind the scenes’ part of the work, and to see that on our own property was amazing.”
The Boldens were not the only ones to embrace the filming, as many locals served as extras or even stunt drivers in the movie. “The Southeast Soapbox Derby Racers stepped in and helped to teach us about soapbox racing and even did some stunt driving for us,” Wardlaw said. “It was so great to be able to include so many people from our community in this project.”
Even the cast of the film appreciated the special feel of the community, Quinton Aaron explained when sharing his thoughts on the film. “I had a fun time working with the cast of this movie, and I love the small-town vibe of this area,” he remarked. “Working on a movie where everyone comes together throughout the town is so awesome, and I’m very glad to get to watch it with everyone.”
When asked what his favorite part was of filming the movie, Aaron said it was the feeling of being back on set for the first time after the health pandemic. “It’s a journey just to be on set. As an actor, you always want to be on set. This is one of my first jobs after covid, so I enjoyed every moment of it. Seeing the finished product of it is so great because you get to remember things you did and see how it all comes together.”
Many of the actors shared similar sentiments, saying that the smalltown atmosphere of filming, along with wonderful cast members, provided a unique experience while filming the movie. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to be in the area and getting to know my fellow cast mates,” said Brisco De Poalo. “It’s made this project so fun and one that I am really proud of.”
Reverend Carl Wardlaw III, who served as the coproducer of the film, also shared his enjoyment for the process of creating the film. “It’s so surreal. Once you work and see that work come to fruition, to see your fingerprint in something, it’s good and so refreshing,” he emphasized. “To bring something so great like that back to your hometown is even better. It’s clean – and that’s something we really like. It’s not something only one sector of the public can watch; it’s something you can enjoy with your family and kids.”
Luther Wardlaw observed, “My brothers and I have seen a lot, but to be able to do something and bring it home and watch it come to fruition is a surreal experience. We have always been invited to be a part of projects like this, but to have a hand in it from start to finish and to be able to do it in our hometown is a really beautiful thing.”
The film is now available for the public to view at any time through the PureFlix streaming service.