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  • Megann Horstead

Horror, comedy ‘Kingfisher’ filmed in Joliet

Joliet resident Kristin Haller said she was ecstatic to hear that an independent movie was filming in her city.

So when an opportunity arose to appear as an extra in the film, she couldn’t resist.

“To be honest, I hear something’s coming to Joliet and you get to act, to pretend to be something different, so it’s just exciting to do something like that,” Haller said.

The crew for the independent movie “Kingfisher” started filming throughout the city of Joliet late last month. The movie, which takes place in a fictional town called Kingfisher, is horror-comedy production by movie producer Brett Hays.

“It’s a city where ghosts and humans; there’s ghost town and there’s a regular town,” Hays said. “It just kind pokes fun and has fun with those genres.”

Hays said the script for Kingfisher is different from many of his past projects, and that’s what drew his interest.

“I’ve produced a lot of independent features in the Illinois area,” he said. “A lot of the crew on this film is a lot of the crew we’ve worked on with a lot of numerous features.”

Although he’s never worked on a project in the comedy-horror genre, Hays noted that one common thread, trust, serves as a link between his past projects and his latest project, Kingfisher.

“The thing about making film is its such a collaborative medium,” he said. “If you look, there’s 50 people here they’re all doing their specific job—producers and production. It’s all about trusting people to do their job.”

Hays said one of the secrets to working in the independent film industry is having an understanding for how important location is to movie production.

“One of the things that I enjoy is coming into towns that maybe don’t have a lot of filming going on,” he said. “Working with the city, the mayor; working with the local resources to try to find places to film or people that will want to be in the movie. A lot of making film is not just about finding a crew… but finding local resources that will support the film.”

Haller said she loves how the film’s producers incorporated various parts of the city into the movie.

“I think, too, Joliet has so much history,” she said. “I love that they’re [filming] in the old historic district.”

Hays said the reason they want to continue making films in this area is economic growth.

“We’re an independent film but the money we are spending, we’re making an effort to spend it here,” he said. “The caterers are from here. The hotels are here. Whatever we can spend money on, we try to spend it here… That’s what films do, they can help economic growth.”

All of Kingfisher is filmed exclusively in Joliet.

Haller, who was among numerous locals appearing as extras in the movie, said she’s lived in Joliet all of her life.

“You get very proud that, ‘oh, my gosh. They’re filming in Joliet,’” Haller said. “You just really want to contribute in any way you can. It’s definitely a bonus that I get to have my hair done and make up and be a ghost, because obviously doesn’t that happen.”

As part of the production, Haller plays a ghost that is from 1940s or 1950s. She said she’s fascinated by all of what she’s seen while working on set.

“I think the makeup is fantastic,” Haller said. “They’re so talented. We look, like, dead people. They put paint all over your body and they kind of make you necrotic fingers, so very, very impressed.”

Haller continued to explain why she views being in the film as a positive.

“I think the kind of thing that I’ve appreciated so much is you see the behind the scenes and how many little pieces there are that this production put together,” she said. “You can actually sit in a movie theater and watch it… I got to see how it was made. That’s so fascinating to me.”

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