LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you liked his first film "Little Chenier," Lake Charles native Jace Johnson is producing another film in Lake Charles, this time a low budget romance thriller titled "Charles Claiborne: Sojourn in Lake Charles."
"It's a romance international fugitive film. He's chased out of hiding by some assassins. He's hiding in the swamp and comes to the nearest town which is Lake Charles. He falls in love with a girl and sticks around town a little longer than he should," said Jace Johnson.
Johnson wears a lot of hats in the film. Not only is he the producer, director and writer, but he's also the lead actor.
"I've been the grip at times. The water grip. Kind of doing it all. I have a great team behind me though," said Johnson.
Johnson explained they are filming a short teaser to shop around at upcoming international film festivals in hopes of getting funding for a full production. Shooting this weekend included several down sites: the basement of the historic Charleston Hotel, the Sea wall and Luna Bar & Grill.
Born and raised in Lake Charles, Johnson spent the better part of the last 20 years in L.A. until returning home to produce his film "Little Chenier" in 2006. Johnson said coming back to the Lake Area just made sense.
"I found myself in L.A. trying to make as much money as I could so I would be able to come home on vacation to Lake Charles. Because all of the things I really like to do are here. I love to hunt. I love to fish. So I was just like why am I doing this ... I could come back to Lake Charles and make movies here," said Johnson.
Living his dream Johnson is also helping make it happen for others. Brandon Cordon plays the villain in the film.
"This is my first day actually but they have been shooting over the weekend and they've been pretty busy and not getting a lot of sleep. But they are saving the best for last," said Cordon.
Rounding out the cast are nearly 20 extras who will tell you it is all about waiting.
"It's been quite interesting. You get to meet a lot of interesting people even though it is kind of arduous in the task of waiting. As you can see we have had a poker game. So honestly on a Sunday it is not so bad but we do get anxious a little bit wanting to get down there and be part of the scene," said Staci Hungerford, extra actor in film.
Since moving to Louisiana from Pittsburgh, Matthew Butkus has been an extra in four films and said he is surprised at the unexpected opportunities.
"It's a much smaller city than where I'm from and I was really surprised that I had these options. It's kind of nice. A nice way to break things up and to stay local and certainly not have to travel to Houston or New Orleans to find something interesting to do," said Butkus.
If all goes well there will be more opportunities. Johnson has seven more screenplays ready to go.
"I love it here. I love the landscape and love Lake Charles. So I'm going to do as much as I can here," said Johnson.
Johnson expects the editing process for the teaser film to take several months before shopping it around for investors and hopefully shooting a full scale production in the spring of 2013.