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CASTING CALL: Auditions held for movie to be made in North Dakota

Nathan Carpenter said he thought 8 a.m. was a little early for an audition, yet he was one of 18 people who were out early to answer a casting call by Nathan Anderson, owner and founder of NoDak Films.

Anderson plans to produce the movie "Last Summer for Boys" this summer in North Dakota. He said up until Friday, about 250 people had read for 30 speaking roles at auditions in Ray, Minot, Linton and Bismarck.

"This is the best morning turnout I've had in the two weeks I've been here," Anderson said of those gathered in a meeting room at UND's REAC 1 Building.

"I didn't know they made movies in North Dakota, that they just made them in Hollywood," Carpenter said. "When he said no experience was required, that fit my profile."

Jenny Morris has had more experience, having recently been the lead in the Fire Hall Theatre production of "The Bad Seed." She said she's also been in three movies.

"I'm up for any scene he wants me to read," Morris said.

"It's one of those things you think, 'Man, that'd be so awesome to do, but I'm from North Dakota; that's not a practical job,'" said Jenna Hall, a UND student from Belcourt, N.D. "What do I have to lose?"

One by one, Anderson took each person down the hall to a separate room for a private reading of a selection from the script. Each was told there would be more opportunities.

"I plan to keep making movies in North Dakota," Anderson told them. "If you're not right for a role in this movie, you may be perfect for the next."


Anderson has been asking North Dakota individuals, businesses and towns to contribute $100 to the production of the movie. Anderson said people cast as extras will be listed in the credits as associate producers, as will businesses that contribute products. The product information will be put on the NoDak Films Web site, Town landmarks will be placed in the movie, provided they're from a community of fewer than 5,000 people.

"There have been close to 200 contributions from over 40 towns and cities," Anderson said. The contributors range from 14-year-old farm kids to former Gov. Ed Schafer, Agriculture Secretary Roger Johnson and former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. Each contributor will receive monthly newsletters and be invited to a private screening of the movie.

Anderson is finishing auditions in Fargo this weekend. He said by the end of February or the beginning of March, he'll invite some of the actors to read a couple more scenes during another round of casting in April or May.

"I've definitely seen some actors that I thought, wow, perfect, and I've had callbacks to people I've liked to read other parts of the script," Anderson said. "But there are no guarantees."

The story

"Last Summer for Boys" will be set in Plaza, N.D., where Anderson grew up before his family moved to Minot when he was 8 years old.

"I spent my imaginative years in Plaza, and they were wonderful," Anderson said. "My dad was a pastor, so I grew up not on but near a farm. I've kind of romanticized about farms, so this movie will highlight the agriculture sector in North Dakota."

The script tells the story of a young North Dakota man fresh from a college degree and with a new job in Minneapolis who leaves the combine for a cubicle. The burden of leaving the farm never leaves him, and he ends up back in the small North Dakota farm town of his youth, where he struggles with the girl he left, the friends he lost touch with and the tough choices he will make before they make him.