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"Bestsellers": filmed in Tacoma

Local filmmaker to screen film at The Grand

A scene from "Bestsellers." Photo courtesy of Rick Gratzer

Bestsellers (HD trailer)

When do you give up on what you want to do, and turn to what is profitable and popular? At what point are dreams of art and integrity laid to rest at the altar of commercial whoredom? That is the question posed in the new film Bestsellers, by Tacoma filmmaker Rick Gratzer.

Hang on. Back up. Tacoma filmmaker? Tacoma has filmmakers? Real filmmakers, who spend more than 72 hours on a project? Certainly Tacoma likes movies. It supports an independent video store, an independent movie theater, and a film festival. But people getting out there and making movies? Well, kind of.

"Set in Tacoma, filmed in Tacoma, written in Tacoma. The only thing not from Tacoma were any of the actors," says Gratzer.

"There are positives and negatives to filming a movie in Tacoma. Obviously one of the negatives is that no one in Tacoma makes movies, so you're kind of at a lack for, you know, help," he continues. "There was the camera person, there was the boom mike person, and there was me."

Filming in Tacoma has its advantages, of course. Without a particularly active film community, there is still novelty to businesses. "If you go in and say ‘Can we film a scene here?' - they go ‘What? I guess that'll be an unusual day.' In L.A., the cost of filming in one location for one night was three times our entire budget."

Casting for Bestsellers took place at Tacoma Little Theatre, although remarkably few Tacoma actors turned out. "Everyone we liked turned out to be from Seattle," says Gratzer. "And now they've all moved to L.A. anyway."

Lacking additional crew, Gratzer turned to friends and family, including local rock group Sordid Sentinels, who contributed two songs from their forthcoming EP to the soundtrack. Sordid Sentinels lead singer, Riley Gratzer - Rick's brother - also has a small role in the film.

This is not the first feature script Gratzer has turned out, nor the last, but it required a different approach. "When I sat down to write it ... I decided I really wanted to actually make a movie, so I couldn't write something that was going to cost more than nothing."

Thus, the kind of film that can only get made in a city like Tacoma. Someplace where the actors aren't turning pro - they're just excited to be in a movie. Someplace where a business like King's Books won't just permit you access, but give you help. "The film includes a book signing, and when we showed up they had already set up the chairs and everything," Gratzer tells me. "I think we could have told them we want to stage a murder in the back corner and they would have said ‘Alright,' and thrown up the tarps to cover the books."

After two years - off and on - of writing, filming and editing, Bestsellers will make its debut at the Grand Cinema on Tuesday, March 16, at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are available at The Grand Cinema Web site.

LINK: Bestsellers synopsis

Comments for "Bestsellers": filmed in Tacoma (5)

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Rev. Adam McKinney said on Mar. 09, 2010 at 5:53pm

This is exciting. I've always enjoyed the contributions that Rick Gratzer has made to the 72-Hour Film Festival.

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Riley Gratzer said on Mar. 09, 2010 at 11:09pm

great write-up, Joe. if i didn't already know it was going to be amazing, i would have turned off my computer and sped off to the grand to snatch up my tickets RIGHT NOW!

to rev. Adam McKinney: Me too! :)

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Carol Krona said on Mar. 10, 2010 at 12:35pm

I still have a copy of Rick's personal newsletter written when he was 12, so the hand "writing" has been on the wall for many years! Rick has great musical and artistic talent, and wit besides, so I can't wait to see the movie! I'm sure this is the first of many awesome productions to come...

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Victoria Drake said on Mar. 17, 2010 at 2:35am

I just got my copy of the film and I loved it! I am one of the cast members (Andrea Parker - Fredrick Stone's agent in the film) who has moved to LA - working on going pro! I think Rick did a great job and I loved the work all the actors and crew did together. Way to go! I think it turned out great and I was sorry to miss the showing at the Grand last night. I hope it was a great turnout!


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1d30 said on Mar. 17, 2010 at 3:39pm

My girlfriend and I went to see this movie at the Grand. They had just a one-night showing, and it was packed. Cool to see it succeed.

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