Baseball Movie to Film in Visalia

Production Company Blare Media will hold a casting call on Friday, October 4, seeking actors and extras to play roles in a baseball-themed film set to begin production on Sunday, October 13, at Visalia Rawhide Baseball Stadium. Officials say the film, titled “FAN27,” will shoot for two days in Visalia and one day in the Fresno area.

“This is a great opportunity for about 30-40 local actors and 250 residents to play extras in a film project that will have real Hollywood production values – filming right here in Visalia,” Tulare County Film Commissioner Eric Coyne said. “While this is an independent film with a modest budget, this isn’t a student film. This is a union movie shoot.”

Producer Joe Moffitt said Blare Media chose to film FAN27 in Visalia because his associates were blown away by the superb baseball facilities at the Visalia Rawhide Baseball Stadium and the friendly reception local officials gave him while he was scouting the Central Valley for locations.

“This script was written to be shot in Shreveport, Louisiana, with a fictional team, but several of us fought to produce this project in California,” Moffitt said. “Then we talked to the Rawhide organization, and now could not imagine filming this anywhere else.”

Moffitt’s creative team reviewed scouting images of the ballpark and the Rawhide facilities and were so impressed they decided seek permission to write the Visalia Rawhide in as one of the baseball teams shown playing in the film.

Rawhide General Manager Jennifer Pendergraft reviewed the script for FAN27 and agreed to help Moffitt
secure the required releases from major league baseball to allow the Rawhide franchise to be depicted in the film – as long as Moffitt agreed to have the Rawhide play the winners of the film’s climatic game and to have the fictional Shreveport team ultimately play the role of the losers.

“I wanted to get out of there before she insisted Tipper play a starring role!” Moffitt jokes, talking about his ballpark negotiations.

With the Rawhide organization on board with the FAN27 plotline, and assured of the positive nature of the film, City of Visalia officials were very supportive of the filmmaker’s efforts to shoot in Visalia.
“Positive promotion of Visalia benefits all of the community. It provides an opportunity to showcase what’s good about Visalia and puts our city in its best light for all to see,” said Mayor Amy Shuklian.
Pendergraft acknowledged filming is not only good for the local economy – proving local lodging and dining for cast and crew – positive film exposure is good for Rawhide baseball.

“The Visalia baseball franchise is such a historical tradition both in town and in the baseball world, that you’ll hear Visalia mentioned, or see Visalia memorabilia, in several popular baseball movies such as ‘Bull Durham’ and ‘Moneyball,’” Pendergraft said. “Most of the movie mentions are of the Visalia Oaks. Now that the Rawhide name and new ballpark renovations have been around for a while, this film will give us a chance to showcase the new era of Visalia baseball to the filming industry. It’s a beautiful ballpark, and we’re happy to show it off.”

Blare Media is taking a relatively novel approach toward making and marketing FAN27 by making a 45-minute short film aimed at a slightly higher target than most short films traditionally made with the film festival circuit in mind. With the traditional studio film distribution model changing in the face of runaway production costs, Blare wants to produce a polished short version of FAN27 with extremely high production values which can be used to secure studio support for a full-length feature movie version.

“Our hope is that the FAN27 feature short film will become the vehicle we will use to present to film studios to secure a funded distribution deal that will afford our local film company the opportunity to come back to Visalia, and the awesome Visalia Rawhide Baseball Stadium, to shoot much longer version as a major baseball feature film,” Moffitt said.

But before Blare Media think about filming a full feature, Moffitt says they need to finish filming FAN27 – set to shoot at the ballpark October 13-14. For that to happen, he needs to cast several key roles and find and select about 250 extras willing to watch several innings of baseball.

“We need people who know how to play baseball, and tons of people in the stands to play enthusiastic crowd members, ring cowbells and cheer on their team,” Moffitt said, outlining the roles he hopes to cast during an open audition scheduled to be held at the Visalia Rawhide Baseball Stadium from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, October 4. “This an opportunity to come out, appear in a feature film and really let out your inner baseball fan. Face painting encouraged. Bring your cowbells!”

Moffitt is looking to fill many roles – extras in the stands, some speaking roles and baseball players who will perform on the field during several games.

“If you have theater experience from school or from a community production, or even if you just want to come down, enjoy the spirit of the moment and appear in the crowd shots, we’d love to have you,” Moffitt said. “Don’t be shy.”

Moffitt intends to cast most of his remaining FAN27 roles during the Friday casting call, but encouraged people who want to attend the baseball filming and appear in the crowd shots who cannot audition to email him directly at [email protected]

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