The occasion was the premiere showing of “George Biddle, CPA,” an “absurdist road comedy” directed by Patterson native Nick Walker that was filmed on the West Side with mostly local actors and crewmembers.
Walker, whose cinematography credits include work on “Rango” and “Shrek the Third,” celebrated in grand style with fellow crewmembers as they packed the theater to view their joint creation. They also took limo rides around the block, after the film’s production manager rode in a limousine from Patterson to Newman.
“We’re trying to give as much pizzazz as possible,” Walker said Thursday, May 3, the day after the first of two private premiere showings of the film.
The premiere followed more than a year’s work. Walker said a couple of sound and visual errors in the movie needed to be fixed, but he was pleased with the overall product. Certain scenes still make him laugh or smile each time he watches, he said.
“I’m happy with it,” Walker said. “Especially given all the limitations that go into a no-budget film like this, I’m satisfied with all the stuff that I was able to get from my head onto the screen.”
According to Walker, the film follows George Biddle, a pudgy, balding, yet suave “Certified Public Accountant of the Open Highway.”
Biddle helps those in need of emergency financial planning and tax preparation services, touring the desert highways of the Central Valley in his full-sized red 1960s convertible.
Ultimately, he is forced to use his charm, lightning reflexes and encyclopedic knowledge of obscure tax codes to survive demanding situations that pit him against a mysterious woman and a rival who dates back to his grade-school days: Ronald Black of the IRS.
“It’s odd and kind of funny in its own way,” Walker said of the film. “The humor comes from the fact that the world these people live in is so bizarre, and yet they treat it so earnestly.”
At least a couple of cast members this week said the movie exceeded expectations.
“Overall, I was happy with it. It was way better than I thought it was going to be,” said Cade Tomasegovich, who plays the lead role of George Biddle.
Tomasegovich said seeing the film during the May 2 premiere was an exhilarating experience, and he was particularly delighted to see the name of the film in lights on the West Side Theatre marquee.
He went to both the May 2 and 3 premieres, accompanied by different relatives each time, and said he figured he would catch things that he missed the first time around. He said he was intrigued to see how all the parts of the filmmaking process coalesced.
“Even when Nick was trying to explain the film and stuff, I had an idea of what he was going for, but seeing everything up on the screen, now I understand what he was talking about,” he said. “There were some things (in which) I didn’t know what was going on in the final cut stages.”
Colton Dennis, who played villain Ronald Black, described the movie as a great homage to Patterson, noting that every scene was shot in the area. Like Tomasegovich, he said he was amazed to see how the film came together after it was edited with music and sound effects.
“I think Patterson people will be really proud to see it,” Dennis said.
Eventually, Walker hopes to have public showings at Stanislaus County venues. In the meantime, he will stay busy submitting “George Biddle, CPA” to film festivals throughout the country.
“Now that we’ve got a complete viewable product in hand, we’ve got to get it out to festivals,” he said.
n Jonathan Partridge can be reached at 892-6187, ext. 26, or firstname.lastname@example.org.