Homegrown drama to debut at Theatre Baton Rouge

Homegrown drama to debut at Theatre Baton Rouge

Photo provided by Hedges Pictures -- The masked villain known as The Magician, played by Tyler Grezaffi, finds himself unable to resist the charms of Carley Chapman, played by Elizabeth Jolly, in a scene from The Incident with The Magician.
Photo provided by Hedges Pictures -- The masked villain known as The Magician, played by Tyler Grezaffi, finds himself unable to resist the charms of Carley Chapman, played by Elizabeth Jolly, in a scene from The Incident with The Magician.

By day, he was a golden boy, the university’s top track star.

But nights were totally different.

The golden boy lived a double life. Some people would call him a cat burglar, others a jewel thief.

That is, if they knew who was robbing their houses. Time, combined with missteps, always has a way of revealing a culprit.

So, the golden boy was caught, then sent to jail. But revealing this information isn’t giving away the ending of Hedges’ Pictures fifth feature film, The Incident with the Magician.

Viewers already will know he is in jail as a reporter begins putting his story together. This will happen when Hedges Pictures premiers the film at 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, on Theatre Baton Rouge’s Main Stage.

All ticket proceeds will benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, and those who miss the premiere will be able to watch the film at http://www.YouTube.com by summer.

Still, there’s something special about watching a film on a big screen, especially one that has been locally shot and stars local actors.

“We shot the film in eight days in November,” Travis Hedges Williams said.

He’s founder and owner of the film company, as well as producer, director, writer, editor and cinematographer of this film.

That’s a lot of titles, but the most amazing part is how he does all of it while working on his master’s degree in library and information science at LSU.

“It’s our shortest feature film, but it’s the most time we’ve spent filming,” Williams said. “You have to remember that we had to work around Thanksgiving in November. It was intense, and I’ve been picking away at editing ever since.”

Filming locations include the Rusty Rooster antique store in Denham Springs, familiar downtown Baton Rouge spots, as well as on the LSU campus, and inside private homes.

“This is an interesting film for us, because it’s our first drama,” Williams said. “It’s also told in a unique way, in a non-linear way, out of chronological order.”

Again, the story follows a reporter as she attempts to piece together The Magician’s story.

The Magician is the track star’s nickname. He has both rivals and allies, and the reporter interviews all of them.

“As we listen to these reports on what happened after The Magician is put in jail, we try to decide whether he is a good guy or bad guy,” Williams said. “You find out that innocence or guilt isn’t always black and white. It’s like Citizen Kane meets The Prestige.”

Williams calls the project his most ambitious so far. His fellow filmmaker Michael Westphall moved to Dallas two years ago, and Williams has been single-handedly making Hedges Pictures’ films since.

The Incident with The Magician lasts one hour and four minutes and is appropriate for a PG-13 audience.

And there will be a couple of surprises preceding the screening. First, Williams will reveal his next film project.

“It’s something I know our audience will be very excited about,” he said.

And second, The Incident with The Magician will be introduced by a notable personality. Now, the introduction will be a recording, and Williams isn’t promising an appearance by Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie.

Still, the personality is someone of note, a person connected with Travis’ all-time favorite film, Angus.

“And I’m really excited about that,” he said.

Add to all of this a soundtrack written and performed by local musicians and you have a true homegrown drama, and Williams is happy about the opportunity to give back to his hometown.

“We felt the celebration of completing our fifth feature-length film was a great opportunity to give something back to the community which has been generously supporting us for 13 years,” he said. “The Food Bank provides a vital service, and we are excited about partnering with them to help feed the hungry in Baton Rouge.”

That is, while feeding viewers’ curiosity at Theatre Baton Rouge by introducing them to The Magician.