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You'll want to buy into 'The Selling'
Creepy comedic indie film by local director to be screened Friday in Marysville
Screening of 'The Selling'
Part of the On Stage at the Lee Burrows series
TIMES: 7 and 9 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Lee Burrows Center for the Arts, 630 E St., Marysville
It's not every day that an independent film gets screened in the Yuba-Sutter area.
But on Friday, the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council is hosting two back-to-back screenings of the indie film "The Selling," produced and directed by Emily Lou.
Born and raised in Yuba City, Emily Lou (nee Emily Wilbur) is a fifth-generation farmer who grew up working on her family's prune and walnut ranch. She still works with her brother and father today to run Richard Wilbur Ranch and Wilbur Packing Co.
"Even though I'm from a small town and my family are farmers, I always felt very encouraged to follow my dreams," Lou said.
She said her grandmother — who in addition to running the family ranch in the 1960s was also a gifted dancer — has always been her inspiration, and Lou credits her grandmother for giving her the art "gene."
"The Selling" is a comedic take on the horror genre. The supernatural comedy is a story about ghosts, demonic possession and real estate and stars Gabriel Diani (who also wrote the script), Janet Varney, Jonathan Klein, Chico native and co-producer Etta Devine, Nancy Lenehan and Barry Bostwick.
When a too-honest-for-his-own-good real estate agent discovers the house he's invested in to raise money for his mother's hospital bills is haunted, he must figure out a way to get rid of the house and/or its ghostly inhabitants before it's too late. But when an evil spirit decides to move into his body, he discovers a whole new set of possession problems.
"The Selling" has won numerous awards on the film festival circuit, including best feature, best ensemble, best director, best screenwriting and best actor at the LA Comedy Film Festival, and best US narrative feature audience award and best US narrative feature jury award at The Friars Club Comedy Film Festival.
"I really wanted to create something that people could enjoy and have a couple of hours where they are able to just have fun," Lou said.
Lou likens her film to comedic horror classics "Ghostbusters" and "Shaun of the Dead."
"The tone is more like Abbott and Costello meet The Mummy. It's not horror like 'Saw'; it's not gory. People have brought their children and enjoyed it," Lou said.
She said "The Selling" is relatively family friendly. "I think 10 or older is a pretty safe bet for a kid to see it. There are no curse words, there is no nudity and there is limited gore — just a little bit of blood in one scene.
"A lot of people have said to me, 'I don't like horror or scary movies, but I liked this,'" Lou added.
"I wanted to do a film that could appeal to everyone. It was never my intention to do something bloody and disgusting. I mean, there is a place for that. But I'm not the director for that," she said.
Lou, who started directing at San Francisco State, said her love of the theater took off while she was a student at Yuba College.
"I'm a huge proponent of people going the community college route to save money, and also it's just a great system. I met Dave Wheeler there, who used to be the theater department chair. He was so inspiring," she said.
"I was really discouraged in high school for some reason. I just never really got into anything and had a lot of failures, for lack of a better word. But when I went to Yuba College and I got into a show, it was so exciting and such a huge turning point for me. That's when I said, 'Maybe I can do this,'" she said.
"The Selling" will be released on DVD on Tuesday and is also available to download at the film's official website, thesellingthemovie.com. People may order a DVD at the official site as well as from other online retailers like Amazon.
"The amazing thing about independent film is how people learn about it through word-of-mouth," Lou said.
"The best thing people can do to support us is to come out and see the film in Marysville. Come lose yourself for 90 minutes in laughter with a couple of spooks. It's a funny film, it's entertaining and it has a lot of heart. Also like us on Facebook and Twitter and check out our website. Recommend us to your friends," she said.
And is Lou planning any projects to film in the Yuba-Sutter area in the future?
"I have a couple that are rolling around in my head," she said. Because of her family's farming history, she said she would love to do something that incorporates farming — "and also because it's such a big part of the culture of Yuba City-Marysville area: the experience of living in an agricultural town. In this uneasy economy, you can't get much more basic than farming, and that's something that I've always been proud to be a part of," she said.
"Also, the Indian culture is such a big part of the Yuba City area, and that's something I've also really wanted to capture and talk about — the Indian immigrant experience and the importance of family and community in a world that's growing and changing all the time. To me, there are some fundamental, traditional values that a town like Yuba City embodies," she said.