A film about families torn apart after the Civil War is expected to be shot in Southwest Colorado and feature local rodeo talent.
“The Orphan Train” tells the story of a Union soldier seeking his children after they were mistakenly sent away because his wife died of tuberculosis and he was presumed dead. The children were sent with the orphan train, a government program intended to place them with adoptive families.
The Wild West tale also follows other desperate parents and good-hearted individuals who face raids and battles.
“It’s a very heartwarming story,” said Rebecca Bertot, Silverton-based costume designer for the film.
But it also explores issues of race and features moral messages that are relevant today, Bertot said.
Los Angeles-based Rebel Road Entertainment, a small independent production company, plans to film “The Orphan Train” during January near Pagosa Springs, said Emily Shenaut, operations manager. The film crew may also spend days in Chama and Durango, she said.
The film is expected to spend about six weeks filming in the area and the crew will likely spend a significant about a time on a set built on a ranch near Pagosa, Bertot said.
Rebel Road Entertainment is behind another film shot in the area called “The Great Alaskan Race,” about the 1925 diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska, and the subsequent serum run by a dog sled team. Scenes of the film were shot in Silverton, Telluride and Durango.
The cinematographer and producer for “The Great Alaskan Race,” Mark David is the director of the photography for “The Orphan Train.” He is hooked on the area and it is likely additional Rebel Road films will be made in the area, Bertot said.
“The Orphan Train” is expected to have 60 speaking roles, many of them featured extras, and film crew members will plan to visit Durango in November to recruit some extras.
The film is recruiting 25 to 50 Native American extras and stunt horse riders. The film is interested in Native American men, women and children who speak their native language, and/or have plains-style clothing, according to an announcement in the Southern Ute Drum.
Rebel Road Entertainment is also looking for five to 10 Caucasian and black actors and/or stunt riders, she said. Some stunt skills the company is looking for include shooting a bow and arrow while riding or falling off a running horse safely, she said.
Those interested in roles may attend a casting call from 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Strater Hotel in the Pullman Room.
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