In day three of my week long series celebrating INDEPENDENTS, I bring to you a truly independent feature film that is about to be shot on location all around where I live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The film is called THE NORTH STAR and it is based on true events in the 1840’s of two slaves from Virginia that escape to the north, following the north star as their guide. They end up in Bucks County and are helped by local Quakers right here in Buckingham. I can’t think of a better person to write about on this July 4th than Independent filmmaker Thomas Phillips, who also wrote the screenplay. His passion for the project is clear, and he is working tirelessly to bring this important story to the big screen.
Some of the notable actors involved in the project include Clifton Powell (Ray, Norbert, Rush Hour, Friday After Next), Lynn Whitfield (HBO’s Josephine Baker Story), Michael Rapaport (Hitch, The 6th Day), Michael Jai White (Spawn, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?), Keith David (Platoon, Crash, The Thing, ATL) and more to be announced. In addition, many local actors are being cast for parts and as extras.
Several iconic local landmarks have been selected for locations for the shooting of the film including The Highland Farm/Hammerstein House, The Pearl Buck Estate, The Cuttalossa Farm, The Moland House, The Cascade Lodge, and more, creating an authentic backdrop to the era of the film.
With my background working at film festivals like Sundance and Philadelphia, I met up recently with Thomas to discuss being involved in the film production. I helped out at the 12 hour casting call and I can tell you this is a great and important film. There were over 250 people who came to audition and Clifton Powell along with Thomas, the producers, and other key crew were on hand to be a part of it. Clifton created an amazing setting for actors, both experienced and inexperienced to go deep within themselves, coaching virtually every single auditionee to be raw and present considering the subject matter at hand.
The film has been garnering great press lately and the buzz is building. Stay tuned…..