Film 'Little Hollywood' to premiere in Kanab

Published: Monday, June 8 2009 2:31 a.m. MDT

Dixie State College English professor Stephen B. Armstrong is planning to debut a documentary about the history of Utah's "Little Hollywood" this month.

The 38-minute film was created to promote Kanab and Kane County to production companies and other potential investors from the entertainment industry, as the scenic landscape there beckons many a motion-picture producer.

"Kanab has an amazing past," Armstrong said. "As remote as this area used to be, it managed to attract some of Hollywood's greatest talent."

Since the 1920s, hundreds of feature films and television programs have been made there, most notably "Western Union," "Buffalo Bill," and Clint Eastwood's classic Western "The Outlaw Josey Wales," as well as the long-running TV series "Gunsmoke" and "Have Gun, Will Travel." Consequently, Kanab is often referred to as Utah's Little Hollywood.

"Movie stars like Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Dean Martin, Maureen O'Hara and James Garner made movies out here. World-class directors like Fritz Lang, John Sturges and Clint Eastwood worked out here, too," Armstrong said.

His documentary, "Return to Little Hollywood," provides audiences with the opportunity to view footage of locations and sets used in past movies and television productions. It also includes interviews with county residents who participated in those productions. Local officials, historians and several Hollywood professionals, including Clint Walker and Harry Carey Jr. also appear and are interviewed in the film.

Students pursuing the digital film track in the college's communication department assisted producers in making the documentary, while professional and technical writing students from the English department developed promotion materials.

"It's been great utilizing the skills I've learned in the classroom," said Charles Cornwall, a student who designed the Web site for the production.

The film will premiere June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Crescent Moon Theatre in downtown Kanab. Producers then hope to screen the picture at various locations throughout the state.

E-MAIL: wleonard@desnews.com

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