Film makers from L.A. scout KC to use as backdrop for film

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City is getting ready for its closeup.

We're not Hollywood, but we're getting some Hollywood hype as movie-makers use our city as their backdrops.

It's a city, that, in movie terms, is under-shot. The Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association says since last October, it's assisted 90 movie crews as they compile their work here in Kansas City.

A working lunch at Dagwood’s Diner on Southwest Boulevard serves as a stopover for filmmaking duo David Dastmalchin and Collin Schiffli. The two Los Angeles residents are visiting the metro, scouting out potential locations to use in a new independent film.

When Dastmalchin wrote the script for the upcoming film "All Creatures Here Below," the Shawnee Mission South High graduate had his home area in mind.

“Locations are key,” Dastmalchin said. “Where you can get into locations to shoot and people will cooperate with you on that front, it gets so much of the legwork out of the way so you can focus on shooting the film.”

“Every city has its own unique pallet and texture and visuals,” Schiffli said, agreeing with Dastmalchin. The duo just premiered their first feature-length film, "Animals," at South By Southwest.

“We see the California side a lot,” Schiffli said. “We see the New York -- the skyscraper look. There's something here that combines them both and feels like middle America.”

Many cities offer incentives or tax breaks for film crews interested in shooting – but Kansas City doesn’t on either side of the state line.

“We're one of the only states in America that doesn't have one,” Stephane Schupham, who works as Kansas City's film commissioner, said. Schupham says it's the people, and the accessibility, that brings Hollywood to town, and it adds up to local dollars. One movie production crew recently rang up a lodging bill that resulted in over a thousand hotel nights for its cast and workers.

“You can't tell me that's not economic development. We want to keep attracting that kind of thing,” Schupham said. “I like to say Kansas City can stay Kansas City,” Schupham said. “We just need to keep unfolding more into who we are. That's really attractive to people. We have a lot of eyes on Kansas City for a lot of reasons.”

What's more, Dastmalchin says Kansas City offers filmmakers a certain freedom -- room to move -- they can't find in Los Angeles or New York. He says this city looks as if it has it's arms open wide, welcoming Hollywood to town.
Dastmalchin and Schiffli say they want to shoot their film in Kansas City sometime this summer. You can see a trailer for "Animals" at this website -- http://www.animalsthefilm.com.