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Local film company debuts new movie

Jimmy Overton was understandably nervous. Days before the Aug. 27 premiere of his new movie, “The Name on the Bullet,” Overton was front and center at the WTA’s Gateway Theatre getting ready to screen the film to a group of journalists and community members.

“Always, always nervous,” said Overton, the founder of Alpha Vision Films, who produced, directed and wrote the screenplay for “The Name on the Bullet,” which offers an interesting take on the story of outlaw Jesse James.

Shot on location at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, the movie features an all-local cast and crew, starring Denver DeWitt, the son of the late Lew DeWitt, one of the founders of country-music legends The Statler Brothers.

DeWitt also wrote the score for the Western. Local screenwriter Susan Conner served as Overton’s right-hand woman on the production, and picked up valuable knowledge on how a movie is made in the process.

“A lot of work goes into 50 minutes of film. You wouldn’t believe the hours and hours of work. It really is magic,” Conner said. “You take scenes that are out of sequence. You film something that is supposed to be at the end of the movie, you do that first, and then you do something at the end in the middle of filming. It’s just magic how it goes together.”

Alpha Vision Films grew out of another group that Overton founded, the Classic Cinema Club, which supplied the bulk of the manpower on the cast and crew for “The Name on the Bullet.” The idea behind Alpha Vision Films was to use the company to provide an outlet for Classic Cinema Club members to learn about the filmmaking process.

Alpha Vision Films has produced 11 films in its three years in the business, a mix of feature films and documentaries.

The lesson that Overton has learned and relearned on the set and in the editing room is “just how difficult the part that you don’t really see or think about is.”

“When you look at a completed film, you think, That’s a nice shot, that’s a witty line, I really like the lighting in that scene, or the movement on the screen is appealing. There’s so much that goes into getting you to that point that is nervewracking, but it’s part of the process,” Overton said.

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