Kim and Ben Piper have lived in Klamath Falls for thirteen years, moving up from Northern California with their two young kids in 2006. They have had a long standing interest in writing and producing films. Wanting to raise their children on a stable cash stream, they chose to first establish a foundation in real estate, which brought the family to Klamath Falls.
Ben and Kim were happy to meet Gary and Annie Lundgren at the 2016 Klamath Independent Film Festival. The Lundgren’s third feature, Black Road, showed at the festival, and Gary and Annie took questions after the film. Ben had a lot of questions on how a film with such high production values could be made for such a small sum. Hearing that quality films could be made for under one million was exciting. And it launched a great partnership and friendship.
Gary and Ben actually worked on another script, involving vampires, before they all settled into the Phoenix, Oregon project. In 2017, they polished up the script and looked at getting the film made that summer. At that point, the conceived budget was bigger and the Lundgrens were hoping for some outside funding. It became clear, however, that outside funding would require relinquishing too much control over the filmmaking process, which the team was not comfortable with.
So, by 2018, producer Annie Lundgren, who is a miracle worker, came up with a different approach to the film in terms of cast and crew, and the team launched the project themselves, funding the whole film locally. Pied Piper Productions, our company, was the major financial investor that made making the film possible.
The Pipers were instrumental in having the film shot in Klamath Falls as well. Ben made the initial visit to Hanscam’s bowling alley. One of their properties was also made available for sets. And when Gary and Annie visited with Patrick Neary, the cinematographer, they toured several locations in town. That gave us a sense the entire film could be made here.
To be clear, this is our first feature project. The Pipers helped with set location, set building, and miscellaneous on-set details. They also helped in the editing process with feedback through many early versions of the film. And, now, their role has grown even larger, as they make major contributions to booking the screenings for the film around the country, and showing up for what looks to be a really jam-packed national tour.
Working with Gary and Annie Lundgren has been educational and inspiring. They are both two highly ethical and hard working people. We couldn’t imagine better partners in a project like Phoenix, Oregon.
Klamath Falls premiere is Thursday May 2 at the Pelican Cinemas on Biehn St. Buy advance tickets for the 7:30 special screening with filmmaker Q&A! The 7 pm sold out!