There was a murder at Lulu’s Home Port Restaurant and Lounge in March. It was a scene for the movie “Return to Home,” a short film that was shot on location near and around the restaurant in Home.
Don Porter of DP Productions is producing the movie and developed the idea and script outline through bar talk with customers at the restaurant where he is a bartender.
Paul Clark, a customer, had film and multimedia background. The film’s 36 actors are all locals and bar customers. “Return to Home,” is considered a “short” because it will be between 30 and 45 minutes in length. The plot involves a Van Gogh painting stolen from the Nazis in WWII. The opening scenes show the current-day owner (played by John Glennon) being murdered at the Home Port with a following investigation by a Private Investigator. The ending remains a secret.
Porter, who has been a professional photographer since the 1970s, explained, “Three years ago, I created a film noir poster with a stylized look. The poster developed into a movie story line about 18 months ago. Things really took off when Paul (Clark) wrote the screenplay last October.”
Clark’s family has lived in Longbranch since 1928. “My grandfather purchased 8mm wind-up Keystone movie camera in 1936,” said Clark. “That’s what got me started.” Clark majored in drama at Green River Community College and at Brigham Young University.
“I had scholarships at Carnegie and Goodman, but gave them up when relatives said that I should ‘get a real job,’” Clark said. “I went into electronics and then the multimedia field with Microsoft. I wrote some plays, did a lot of stuff for PBS, and played Tom in the PBS adaptation of “Diary of Anne Frank.”
“I’m not so much a film industry person as I am a multimedia professional,” he said. “Multimedia includes the technical manipulation of computer graphics, still photography, film, and animation. All it takes these days to make a film is $1,200 worth of multimedia equipment and $1-million worth of training and experience.”
Nobody is going to make a fortune on this project. Everybody is donating his or her time for the benefit of the community. The actors receive the greatest compensation at $1 each. Glennon can be used as an example of the community spirit of all those involved. Glennon plays Santa Claus every year, helps individuals in need, and is actively involved with the Food Bank, Longbranch Improvement Club, Key Peninsula Community Center, and the Marine Corps Toys for Tots.
The primary actor is Dave Wiltfong who plays Jake Stone P.I. in the vast majority of the scenes. “Dave was a bar customer, a retired Tacoma Police Officer, and he had the look, build, and voice that we needed,” Porter said.
Wiltfong said that his only qualifying experience was narrating and acting in lots of police department training films. “It has been lots of fun”, said Wiltfong. “I would describe it as a low budget indie film without the overhead, and compare it to the Blair Witch Project which was also done in 8mm.”
Carolyn Yeager, a waitress at Home Port, plays Jake Stone’s assistant. “I did some little theater at Fort Lewis in my school years, but this was a lot tougher than little theater,” said Yeager. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Juanita Stackhouse plays Betty, a wannabe girlfriend of Jake Stone. “I loved it,“ said Stackhouse shortly after filming her three lines on the first take. Filming is done. Editing will take about two more months. The finished DVD will be available for purchase about June. The completed film will be submitted to the Bremerton Film Festival this summer, and then to the Seattle Film Festival later this year.
A DVD of “Return to Home” can be ordered from email@example.com for $20.