Movie filmed in Durango and region playing at Gaslight – The Durango Herald

Movie filmed in Durango and region playing at Gaslight – The Durango Herald

Stick around Durango long enough and you’ll find out that plenty of movies have been filmed around here: “City Slickers,” “Avalanche,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Around the World in 80 Days” and, of course, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” And so it’s always cool to be in the middle of watching a movie and suddenly see the train or Bakers Bridge.
Now we can add “Hostile Territory” to the list of films featuring familiar settings – and residents.
The film, written, directed and starring Brian Presley, is inspired by true events and tells the story of former Civil War prisoner of war Jack Calgrove, who, upon release returns home to find his wife has died and his children, presumed orphans because everyone thought he was dead, too, had been loaded onto an orphan train. He and fellow POW Desmond Richards (played by Craig Tate) embark on a journey to find his children before they are adopted into new families. Along the way, the two are joined by a freed slave (Natalie Whittle), whose daughter is also on the train, and a group of Native American sharpshooters.
Presley said making “Hostile Territory” (originally called “Orphan Train”) was in large part because of his passion for history, especially in films.
“I love historical films and love Westerns, so I started with the Orphan Train Movement, which I was fascinated by. In 75 years, these trains ran to various places from New York to the Midwest trying to give kids who were homeless after the Civil War and in that time period a chance at life. Some kids made it into good homes, some kids didn’t,” he said. “The overall effort was a good one, and I began to build the story with that backdrop – it’s not necessarily based on the Orphan Train Movement, but we see the journey of … the kids of my character. As a parent, I don’t think any parent could argue there’s no mountain or enemy you wouldn’t face to go save your children.”
“Hostile Territory” is also a family affair for Presley: His children in the film are his children in real life – and filming is now a treasured family memory, he said, adding that the local cast and crew members they worked with locally helped make the filming a success.
“We had a great time. One of the highlights of the whole shoot was being able to do this with my kids, have them play my kids in the movie,” Presley said. “We had an amazing experience. And then just pulled on a lot of local people there in Durango. We found some great local actors – actors from Durango to New Mexico; they all did just a great job.”
Along with local residents appearing in the film, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad also plays a starring role as the orphan train, although in the story, the train is running west from New York.
The story of Calgrove and company’s journey to find the children takes place during the winter, which proved to be tough for filming, Presley said, especially considering the movie takes place in the 1800s, so no fleece, nylon or Gore-Tex.
(Playing at the Gaslight)
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Western
Directed by: Brian Presley
Written by: Brian Presley
Runtime: 1 hr. 34 min.
Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer: Not available
“One of the biggest challenges was just the weather. When you have horses, kids, keeping everybody warm, we started shooting right after Christmas – that was definitely our biggest challenge. And the movie takes place primarily outside, so that was a hard one,” he said. “And you wanted the characters to be in period-accurate clothing, which is not North Face and Columbia … we had warm vehicles standing by and warming tents.”
And now that “Hostile Territory” is finished and has made its debut, Presley, who is based in Los Angeles and Colorado, said there are plans to return to Southwest Colorado.
“We’ve got several projects in the works – we’ve got a modern-day Western that we may be bringing to that region here pretty soon,” he said. “We’ve got kind of an infrastructure there and want to continue to bring projects to the Four Corners region. It’s been good on the last two, and we’ve got a great group of people there locally that have become family friends and so my goal is to continue to bring film and television to that region.”
katie@durangoherald.com
Durango Herald
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