Producer pleased with Portales area

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Hollywood magic doesn’t always come easy when it comes to producing a movie.

Selected for its resemblance to northwestern Oklahoma in the 1960s, Portales and the surrounding areas became home for the production crew and actors of the film “Believe in Me,” said co-producer John Bard Manulis.

Chosen partly for its drought-like conditions, upon arrival, the area began to receive moisture, thus creating problems for the production crew, Manulis said.

“It’s much drier than before,” Manulis said last week while in town for the movie’s premiere.

The unexpected wet conditions became a challenge the production crew had to overcome and deal with. Overcoming adversity played a big role in bringing the film together, Manulis said.

“Good movies come out of tougher experiences,” Manulis said.

For Pam Atherton, her involvement in the movie came about by totally reinventing herself for the audition. Atherton, who had acted before in Los Angeles, transformed into a country woman who is tired and worn from the day-to-day struggles of living. The result of her audition was a six-week contract for her role in the movie, she said.

“It (the movie) mirrors the feeling of its time. It’s a sweet movie that was beautifully filmed,” Atherton said.
Community involvement was also a strong factor in the movie. Manulis said the community helped to drive the cast and crew, bringing a sense of empowerment to the story and the film itself.

“I feel like we came into this town and it became a part of what fed us every day on making the film,” Manulis said.

For Doc Elder, who played a sportscaster in the film, being a part of the production allowed him to experience what the process was all about.

“It was really fascinating to see the film from the inside,” Elder said.

Elder also felt the community played a huge role in the production. Everything from working as extras to accommodating the production crew’s requests. Several area businesses had to adjust and accommodate in order to work around the filming of scenes, Elder said.

“We really wanted to showcase our community. It was definitely worth it,” Elder said.

The film itself has woven its way into the hearts of the community. The story is a testament to that feeling, by relating a story many feel connected to, Elder said.
Manulis stated that if the opportunity arose again, he would be interested in filming another production in the area.

“We would be happy to shoot here again. We found a great location in the area,” Manulis said.