The City of Aberdeen will play host to a screening of a film that bears its name Saturday at the D&R Theatre.
Film director Colton Van Til, a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University, wrapped up production about a year ago for his motion picture, titled “Aberdeen.” Since then, he has been entering it at film festivals, including a recent showing at the Port Orchard Film Festival.
He said it’s appropriate that the City of Aberdeen be the first to see it in its very limited public release.
“It was super important to have our first screening be in Aberdeen. They obviously deserve that,” he said. “It’s been in the works for a while. I’ve been talking to (theater owner) John Yonich since around Christmastime. … It has taken a lot of work to get it to where it is now.”
The D&R is primarily a music venue, but it has a screen that can drop down over the stage to create a movie theater atmosphere. Yonich estimates it has been about 40 years since the D&R played a feature film, and he is looking forward to showing this one.
“It would just be cool to have a movie here,” he said, “and on top of that, it’s about Aberdeen.”
The story deals with a young journalist with the city’s newspaper who uncovers a scandal within the high school football program. She must choose between exposing the truth about her hometown team and protecting the people who might be harmed if her findings are published.
Van Til said part of the ticket sales will be donated to Aberdeen youth football because he felt it was important to repay the community that helped made his script come together.
“Since what the film talks about is issues dealing with youth sports, it makes sense,” he said.
When Van Til and his crew came to Aberdeen to film in spring 2018, they were limited to a single day to get all the exterior shots they were looking for to capture the essence of the area. He said he would have liked to spend more time in Aberdeen, but was limited by budget and time constraints.
So the football scenes were not shot at Stewart Field, and the fictional version of the Aberdeen Bobcats don red uniforms instead of the blue and gold.
Van Til concedes he is a little apprehensive about how the local audience will receive his film, but at the same time is looking forward to the reaction.
“I’m nervous that people might get caught up in the whole fictionalized version of Aberdeen. But to me, I think it’s a super personal story. I feel really close to everything I wrote and directed in it,” he said. “I’m very excited to see how people take it, and for the discussions we’ll have following the film.”
The self-described perfectionist said he can’t help but think of some final tweaks he could have made, but he isn’t letting that stop him from enjoying the premiere of his first feature film.
Van Til, who is working on producing a second film as he continues his studies at Loyola, said he’s delighted to have his work come to fruition.
“I’m just proud that we have a complete product, and a year and half after filming we’re able to actually show it to people,” he said. “There are so many indie films that take a decade or so to get out.”
The showtime is 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available through the D&R box office or at AberdeenMovie.com. They are $11 for adults, $8 for youth 12 and under. VIP tickets also are available for $20.