Last year, he was staying at the Pollard B&B and sipping on Rick’s coffees, but now James Cotten, award-winning director/writer/producer is premiering his newest film, Painted Woman, along with Amber Lindley, writer/producer, and author Dusty Richards on Friday, Dec. 8 at the 7:45 p.m. showing at AMC IMAX at Quail Springs Mall in Oklahoma City.
“When the producers approached me about directing the movie, I knew that Guthrie was a perfect situation for us to shoot in,” Cotten said. “It’s such a gorgeous town and has so much history already built into it.”
Filming took place in the Bluebell Bar, the Pollard B&B, the Pharmacy Museum, and downtown streets of Guthrie. Cotten rewrote several of the scenes to custom fit the available buildings in Guthrie.
“It’s just smart to write for the locations you can afford that give you the most production value,” Cotten said.
A local resident, Tom Ward, also proved to be a valuable resource for the film. His collection of western memorabilia, carriages and props transported the scenes back in time. The crew even threw dirt on the streets to complete the period set.
“I found so much awesome help to pull off a very beautiful looking period film — a love letter to my college years,” said Cotten, who grew up in Oklahoma, participated in summer camps just outside of Guthrie as a youth and attended college at UCO and OU before moving out of state.
Painted Woman tells the story of kept woman trapped in a dark, menacing life who finds her way out of an abusive situation, said Cotten.
Empowered, she escapes to the country and learns who she is and what she is capable as she takes control of her life.
Cotten said that audiences walk out feeling all kinds of emotions — from heavy darkness through lightheartedness, and movie goers may laugh in some parts yet cry in another.
“That’s very rewarding,” he added. “Making people feel those emotions is what filmmaking is all about.”
The film has done very well at film festivals, winning “Best Romance” at the Alaska International Film Awards, “Best Film,” “Best Director,” “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” at The Wild Bunch Film Festival, an all-western film festival in Arizona.
“We were the spotlight film for the Bentonville Film Festival, Gina Davis’s festival that champions women empowerment and diversity in film,” Cotten said.
“The Oklahoma Film and Music Office was a huge help and really did a nice job of facilitating a movie coming into the state,” said Cotten, who was very impressed with the people in Oklahoma who helped make the film successful. 95% of the crew for Painted Woman were Oklahoma-based as well.
“I want to support all the crew and talent,” Cotten said. “I was so happy to get such talented actors in the movie.”
Even in what could have been a disastrous set-back to production, locals helped the film stay on course.
“I had a barn dance sequence in the movie and the band didn’t show up. My producers went out to the Bluegrass Festival that was going on in town and gathered some musicians to come play,” recalled Cotten. After just two hours of rehearsals together, the locally gathered musicians were ready for filming.
The film stars Stef Dawson from The Hunger Games, David Thomas Jenkins, Matt Dallas — “Kyle” from Kyle XY — and Robert Craighead from the ongoing Hulu series Future Man said Cotten, but “local talent made the film so much bigger than our budget.”
Painted Woman was inspired from The Mustanger and the Lady, a novel by Dusty Richards, the most prolific living western author of our day. The movie is scheduled to run at the Quail Springs AMC for one week.
To view the movie trailer and learn more, visit paintedwomanfilm.com.