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Scenery is familiar in movie made in Shelby

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"Pieces of Easter," which opens today, was filmed by Finchville’s Kelly’s Filmworks and features many places in Shelby County.

By Lisa King

Have you ever seen a film that’s romantic but not sappy, humorous but not slapstick, with religious overtones but not spouting fire and brimstone?

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That might be a way to describe Pieces of Easter, a spiritual movie created and filmed in Shelbyville, Simpsonville, Finchville, Oldham and Jefferson counties and in Indiana that hits theaters today.

 “The scenery is just breathtaking,” said Jefferson Moore, co-owner of Kelly’s Filmworks, a tiny movie studio located in Finchville that since 2004 has cranked out seven feature films and a mini-series.

What Moore, who wrote the screenplay, said he likes about this film is that it really showcases Shelby County’s countryside in all its spring finery.

 “The entire story takes place on the back roads of America,” he said. “We filmed in Simpsonville, Finchville, the knobs, back last spring, when everything was green and beautiful.”

Moore said all his films have been inspired by David Gregory’s novel, Dinner with a Perfect Stranger. He described Pieces of Easter as “a humorous retelling of the prodigal son.”

The film focuses on the 3-day adventure of a high-strung executive named Alza Bennett, played by newcomer Christina Karis, a Los Angeles actress who is originally from Louisville. Her car breaks down, and she finds her way to the doorstep of grizzled and reclusive farmer Lincoln James, played by Moore.

Bennett is eager to reunite with her estranged family for Easter, and she convinces Lincoln to get her there, a 700-mile journey on which the mismatched pair encounters rat-infested motels, convenience store hold ups, rural snake stalkers and a star-struck couple from a trailer park.

But the way their extremely diverse personalities mesh is the focus of the film, said Kelly Moore, the film’s producer.

“Best of all, they are forced to encounter each other, as the two worlds of the princess and the hermit collide at each and every turn,” she said.

In addition to showcasing Shelby County’s countryside, several scenes were filmed at local businesses, including the Shelbyville Aquatic Center, Days Inn, Weaver’s BP, JT’s Pizza and Finchville Baptist Church.

Jeremiah Health, director of the Family Activity Center, said his staff was thrilled to have the FAC included in the movie. “They filmed a pool scene here,” he said. “It was great.”

Pieces of Easterwill play at the Village 8 in Louisville, as well as in theaters in North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and Michigan until April, when it is expected to make its way to cable TV, as well as Netflix, Amazon and Walmart.

So how did a salesman from Kinko’s and a bank clerk ever end up starting their own film company?

“I never studied acting or writing in college, so I can really say, it all comes from grace,” Jefferson Moore said. “I was living in Bowling Green, and I started getting interested in modeling and doing commercials, and I really enjoyed it.

One day a director invited him to “get behind the camera” to see how the other end operated, and he said he was hooked.

“I guess you could say we [he and wife Kelly] really just fell backwards into it,” he said with a chuckle.

Moore said he and his wife moved to Shelbyville in 1996 and used $6,000 of their savings to start their film company.

“We have shot entire movies right here in our house in Finchville,” he said. “Sometimes we feel like we’re living backstage. But we love what we do.”