Local filmmakers create documentary called “The American Artist”

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm
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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – The Kansas City metro is looking more like Hollywood every day.

Yet another filmmaking team has descended on the metro, using Jackson County as the backdrop for its documentary.

To step inside their old cabin near Lake Jacomo is to step into a time machine, or at least a documentary meant to preserve a piece of Missouri history.

Just behind the cameras and bright lights on this movie set, you'll find Shane Seley, the co-owner of Kansas City-based Wide Awake Films.

Seley's team is in the midst of shooting a biopic called "The American Artist," which chronicles the life and art of Missouri-born painter George Caleb Bingham. Seley's team is just back from a shoot at one of New York City's major museums, where Bingham's work takes center stage.

“They said he was one of the top ten artists -- American artists, painters -- out there,” Seley said. “We're pretty honored to bring his story to life.”

Seley and a crew of close to 50 actors and techs are using the rustic backdrop of Missouri Town 1855, a park and historic site set between Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit. On Monday, FOX 4 News watched, while the crew shot a scene depicting Bingham’s battle with smallpox while creating his paintings.

“It would be great to see more sets our size in the city. I think we're probably the typical type set in this city,” Seley said.

And movie sets like this one are growing more plentiful. While there are no Missouri-based tax breaks for movie makers, film crews are still spending in Kansas City, because it's easier to work here than in larger cities.

Kansas City's Film Commissioner, Stephanie Scupham, recalls the month of August where she assisted with 16 unique products in that month alone.

“Their products have a very far reach,” Scupham said. “We're looking for them to be on national television. We're looking for them to be able to produce films and movies.”

Seley says his crew will shoot for the remainder of the week at Missouri Town 1855. As for the entire documentary, “The American Artist,” he expects it to premiere sometime in the summer of 2016.

If you'd like a sneak preview of "The American Artist," CLICK HERE.



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