Student plans auditions for local film project

Local residents will have the opportunity to contribute to a film project being initiated by a hometown director.

Emily Rails?back, who graduated in 2005 from Hills?boro High School and 2010 from Tabor College, is organizing local auditions in Hillsboro July 8 through 10 for seven characters, including four children and three adults.

The thesis project for her master of fine arts degree at Columbia College in Chicago, Railsback?s film is titled ?He Owns It, We Built It.? It features a lead character named Arthur, 8 to 10 years old, who tries to prevent his childhood fort from being destroyed when a new farmer moves to town and inherits the land where the fort sits.

?This is his first experience of loss, and throughout the film he moves on to accept what life brings him,? Railsback said of the plot.

In addition to the Arthur character, Railsback is seeking children to play: Liam, Arthur?s younger brother (5 to 6 years old); Jacob, a farmer?s son (9 to 12 years old); and Ellie, a far?mer?s daughter (7 to 11 years old).

Railsback also will be casting three adult characters: Arthur?s father (age 37-45), Arthur?s mother (age 32-42); and Farmer Dale (age 35-45), who has acquired the land that surrounds Arthur?s home.

Railsback said she will be in Hillsboro July 8-10 to conduct the auditions.

?I am hoping to schedule more of the kids who are interested in auditioning for Arthur the first or second day, so I could have callbacks and see his character with the others,? she said.

Railsback plans to return Aug. 16-20 with a crew from Chicago to shoot the film in the Hillsboro area.

?I am hoping to come scout out locations in July,? she said. ?We need a creek or lake near some trees where kids could jump into it on a zip line or rope swing. We also will need to shoot in different fields, and we are looking for a location for the farmer?s house, and a boy?s bedroom.?

Railsback said she is hoping to find local sources for numerous props and other needs. One need is for volunteers to feed and house the film crew. She said her mother, Sue Buchholz, will be coordinating that aspect and can be reached at heownsitwebuiltit@gmail. com.

?Part of the reason we chose to film here is that we want to make a film that involves a whole community,? Railsback said. ?We feel the passion behind that will make for a better movie in the end.?

For more details about audition times, character roles and a list of props and other needs, go to the online version of this story at

Railsback said she is making a Facebook group to post updates. The address is


Auditions will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 8; 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 9; and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 10.



– Arthur (age 8-10): Adventur?ous, playful, free-spirited. He learns that his childhood fort must be destroyed, and tries to save it. This is his first experience of loss, and throughout the film he moves on to accept what life brings him.

– Liam (age 5-6): Playful, a bit naive. He follows after his older brother, but doesn?t attempt to save the fort. He is usually the underdog in his adventures with Arthur.

– Farmer Dale (age 35-45): Just moved to town. Inherited money and land in the area, and now owns the land surrounding Arthur?s house. He appears tough, but underneath has a sense of humor. He sees a bit of Arthur in himself.

– Edward (age 37-45): Arthur and Liam?s dad. He is poorer than Farmer Dale, and wants to make a good relationship with his new neighbors, even though it will be hard for his family to not have access to all the surrounding fields.

– Ellen (age 32-42): Arthur and Liam?s mom. She is the moral voice of reason. She appreciates their playfulness and adventurous spirit, but also tries to teach them to be good neighbors and do what is responsible.

– Jacob (age 9-12): Farmer?s son. New to town. Playful, inquisitive, able to swim and play in the creek.

– Ellie (age 7-11): New to town. Farmer?s daughter. Able to swim and play in the creek.



Shooting locations: a creek or lake near some trees where kids could jump into it on a zipline or rope swing; various fields; a location for the farmer?s house; a boy?s bedroom.

Props, etc:

– two pickup trucks?one to be driven, one to sit in the yard;

– a four-wheeler;

– wood/old lumber to build an elaborate fort;

– cowboy hat, old cowboy vest

– feather headdress;

– toy gun;

– Nerf bow and arrow;

– old maps and posters to decorate Arthur?s fort;

– toy rocket;

– compass;

– lifeguard to be on duty for a few hours during the creek scene.

More from Hillsboro Free Press
Cards requested for Alex Hanschu
Alex Junior Hanschu of Ramona is celebrating his 80th birthday Feb. 5....
Read More