Wichita Falls resident Dianne Prothro said she fell in love with the script for the movie “Windsor” when she first read it. She and husband Mark Prothro were among the capacity crowd who saw the showing of the inspiring movie at the USA Film Festival at Angelika Theater in Dallas Sunday, April 26.
When the credits rolled at the end of the film the crowd roared its enthusiastic approval with a standing ovation and Ms. Prothro’s name was there as an executive producer for the captivating film about life in smalltown America. She also appeared in the opening scenes of the movie shot in the cafe. Ms.Prothro can be seen along with a friend seated in a booth drinking coffee behind the town sheriff and lead actor.
She said she especially enjoyed the wrap party where she got to hear star Barry Corbin regale the cast with tales of his enormously successful movie career. He has starred in many major movies including “No Country For Old Men” and “Urban Cowboy.” In Urban Cowboy, Corbin played John Travolta’s uncle.
In fact, she felt so strongly about the movie about six teen-agers coming of age in a small town, that she recommended to director-writer Porter Farrell that her hometown of Gainesville, Texas would be an excellent location to film the movie. Farrell took her advice and chose the town of 15,000 not far from the Red River as the setting for the movie which deals with strong values embodied by smalltown America.
Farrell sat down for an interview after the enthusiastic repsonse his film received from a capacity crowd. With good reviews for his movie already notched up, the first time director was bullish on his film.
Farrell shares Ms. Prothro’s strong beliefs in smalltown America, saying, “If you want to see futuristic, special effects zombie Apocalypse movies you won’t find that in any of my movies. All my movies are going to be paced like this one.” This movie brings small town America to the screen in a way seldom if ever seen. The characters are real and one is quickly absorbed in the emotions and lives of each one. Any one who has ever lived in a small town won’t escape being nostalgic and proud of having lived in such a life forming force that is small town America.
Farrell, who is also in the oil and gas business, said the fact that Windsor, his first movie won Best Feature Narrative Award in the Garden State Film Festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey is significant. He said he was humbled and honored by the award which included international competition. He further said if people in New Jersey can relate to a film about a small Texas town, that proves the movie resonates with a wide audience.
He admitted to being surprised when a man from Egypt came up to him after viewing the film in Atlantic City and said, “Thank you for telling the story of my youth growing up in Egypt.”
Farrell further said several British film directors told him it was a great film after viewing it at the Garden State Festival.
What’s next for Windsor after its successful debuts at film festivals in Atlantic City and Dallas?
Farrell said he planned to enter the movie in two more film festivals before determining a distribution date for the movie which was created by a Texan, in Texas and made mostly by Texans. He said his sentiment for small towns is based on growing up in Midland, Texas.
“I’m very worried about small towns. If we lose our small towns with their values and way of life it will change our nation,” he said Sunday after the films Dallas debut. “I’ve always wanted to do a movie about this subject.”
His concern for the future of small towns is sincere. His tone was serious as he said, “What is there to keep kids in smalltowns? Even smalltown businesses are under pressure. I see that when I travel from Walnut Springs to Glen Rose, Texas. I buy equipment there for our home in the country.”
A resident of Fort Worth, Texas, Farrell said he already has two other projects on the drawing boards. He may be the Next Big Thing in movies with his rare combination of writing and directing skills. He certainly nailed the dialogue of small town people in this script.
Being quite the Renaissance Man, Farrell is not only in the oil and gas business and the movie industry, he is also an investment banker.
Readers interested in finding out more information about this important film about smalltown America may go to the website at Turnpikepictures.com.
Steve Graybill, who flew all the way from Park City, Utah, to Big D to view the screening, said, “It’s a great movie. An homage to small town Texas.”
Another moviegoer who was fortunate enough to be there as part of the packed crowd Robert Johnson said, “I really enjoyed it. We took our 10 and 12-year old children to it. It really is one of those rare movies you can take the entire family to.”
Madelyn Deutch, the lead actress in the film, flew in from Los Angeles Sunday for the Dallas premier. Deutch, who has already amassed an impressive resume of film credits at the age of 24, said she first got into the film business when her mother Lea Thompson was starring in films.
“I was planning on a music career when my mother called me from Delaware and said she was in a movie where she needed two girls to play her daughters. So she got my sister Zoey and I to play her daughters in the movie. And that was how I went from a music career to the movies,” she said smiling as she recalled the pivotal moment in her life.
Actually Madelyn, or “Maddie” as she calls herself, is the offspring of movie royalty. Not only has her mother had an incredibly successful movie career, but her father Howard Deutch is an equally famous movie director.
When asked what the favorite movie was that her dad made she didn’t even hesitate. She replied “Some Kind of Wonderful.”
Why is that her favorite movie of all the ones her dad has directed?
“It’s because that’s where Mom and Dad first met. She was an actress in it and he was the director.”
She said both her parents have had a huge influence on her and have been “embarassingly supportive.”
Not only is Ms.Deutch an actress, but she is also a writer and has already completed a screenplay for a future project in which she will star. Her mother willd direct and her dad will produce the film. But she has proven in Windsor she is an outstanding actress who can change into the personality of a character as easily as a chameleon changes stripes.
Ms. Deutch does an excellent job of fitting into the role of the leader of the group of six seniors who must decide what path to traverse after high school. She proved to be a flamboyant, outgoing human being who enjoys life during the interview after the premier. The role she played in the move was one of a serious individual who’s had to overcome more than her share of adversity during a difficult youth. She more than any of the others has more reasons to leave town, but perhaps even more compelling ones to stay in the small town of Hoxton. Her father was imprisoned as a result of fighting a big corporation which sought to take over his farm. Will she remain in Hoxton after her dad is released from prison or will she go for the bright lights of the big cities as generations have done ever since World War II?
The chemistry is good between Corbin and Deutch as they advise and comfort one another as both face major challenges in their lives ahead.
The legendary Corbin plays the role of the less young guru who shares his wisdom with the six seniors who must decide how they will make their way through the world of adults. It is this universal situation in which everyone finds themselves at some point that provides part of the energy of this movie. One is also reminded no matter how old one is, there are always questions to answer about the future.
It would be a shame to miss seeing Windsor if given the opportunity to do so. Each person who sees it will be moved by different emotions and relationships in Windsor. If only for the 2 hour period this movie is on the big screen the chance to feel the unity, struggles, values and love shared in smalltown America should not be missed.
This movie is a transformational film in that it not only touches the hearts of people from small towns in America, but also those of people from around the globe. As Farrell said, “It is a movie about small town Texas that transcends borders.”
Ms. Prothro said after her first venture as an executive producer that she would always look at movies in a different way in the future. She said she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.