An aspiring country singer and her younger brother befriend three homeless veterans who, in turn, help the siblings in ways they would not have imagined. Thus begins “Oildale,” a new independent motion picture about the emotional and financial challenges often faced by veterans after they return home from war.
The film, directed by David Mueller and written by Lynn Salt, had its sold-out world premiere to a 1500-seat crowd in Bakersfield, CA, on March 30, 2019. The premiere and encore raised funds for the Wounded Heroes Fund of Kern County to provide support and appreciation for veterans returning to civilian life.
As part of their Heartland Tour acrossAmerica, the filmmakers are donating half of all ticket proceeds to local organizations that provide supportive services to veterans.
The movie will make its Shasta County premiere with a special screenings at the Cascade Theater in downtown Redding on Saturday, October 5, 2019. Doors open at 6:00 PM and the show starts at 7:00 PM. The filmmakers have partnered with the Redding chapter of Veterans Resource Centers of America (“VRC”), where half of all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated.
“California is home to 12 percent of the U.S. population but nearly a third of the nation’s homeless veterans,” said MicheleAlexander, the Site Director for VRC’s Redding chapter located in Redding. “The ‘Oildale’ screening will raise much-needed funds to help us continue getting homeless veterans off the streets and into stable housing so that our case managers and clinicians can provide them with the supportive services they need.”
“We’re proud to be associated with this heartfelt and inspiring film,” said Joe Millsap, an Iraq War veteran and the Communications Manager for VRC’s 14 chapters throughoutArizona, California and Nevada. “For nearly 50 years, VRC has helped veterans overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. We’re a mission-driven agency, staffed by veterans and non-veterans alike, and we’re passionate about the work we do. Thanks to David and Lynn, every ‘Oildale’ ticket sold will help us help our vets build happy, healthy and enriched lives for themselves and their families.”
Salt and Mueller plan to take “Oildale” to each of VRC’s 14 locations throughout California, Arizona and Nevada. “This is the first leg of our Heartland Tour,” said Mueller, “and we’re very proud and honored to be partnered with VRC, whose staff is fulfilling such an important need in each community and doing it so successfully.”
“We will also be partnering with different veteran organizations in other towns and cities where we plan to screen ‘Oildale,’” said Salt, screenwriter and producer. “There are so many excellent organizations providing such important and needed services to our veterans. VRC is one of the best, and we want to support what they and dozens of other organizations are doing across the country.”
Salt and Mueller, both experienced filmmakers with a long list of credits, previously collaborated on the multi-award-winning NativeAmerican documentary, “A Good Day to Die,” and the surfing film, “Beautiful Wave.” They consider “Oildale” to be their most personal project yet.
“This is an old-fashioned story with a universally appealing message,” said Salt. “It’s about family, friendship and how people in small towns tend to take care of each other.”
“The movie is proving to be healing for many veterans,” said Mueller. “The emotional response from veterans across generations has been both gratifying and humbling.”
See the “Oildale” trailers here: OildaleTheMovie.com.
A special screening of “Oildale” will take place on Saturday, October 4, 2019 at the Cascade Theater, 1735 Market Street, Redding CA 96001. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. show. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Cascade Theater at 530-243-8886 or the VRC at
530-223-3211 or visiting cascadetheatre.org.
* 50% of all ticket sales will be donated to the Redding chapter of Veterans Resource Centers of America (“VRC”). VRC is a community-based nonprofit focused on the overall wellness and reintegration of military veterans from all eras. Founded in 1972 by a group of Vietnam veterans who couldn’t find the support they needed when they returned home, VRC has 14 chapters throughout California, Arizona and Nevada. With a primary focus on housing assistance, behavioral health treatment and case management, VRC focuses on addressing the individual needs of each veteran.
Set in the Bakersfield suburb of Oildale, the film follows 18-year-old “Carlie” (Jessica Castello) and her 13-year-old brother “Pete” (Caleb Brown), who are left alone after their grandfather (Phil Painter) is forced to move into a rest home. Desperate for money, they take in an Iraq War veteran (Cyrus Zoghi) and two Vietnam veterans (Michael David Farrow and Sonny H. King) as boarders. When the veterans learn that Carlie dreams of being a singer, they encourage her to enter a singing competition at a local theater. Standing in her way is another contestant, “Jessie Ann Jessup” (Kelsey Bohlen), who doesn’t play by the rules, and their long-absent, itinerant father who shows up to kick out the veterans and reclaim the house.
“Both my parents were WWII veterans,” said Salt. “My dad was a West Point graduate. He fought in WWII and was on the ground in the Korean War for a year and a half. When our Vietnam War veterans returned home, they were treated horribly by a large portion of the public who blamed them for the war instead of the politicians who sent them there. Ever since, I was determined to write something that would help right this wrong. It took me this long, but I feel in my heart that the characters in ‘Oildale’ speak for the Vietnam veterans. I’m grateful to my partner, director David Mueller, and to our cast, crew and all the people of Bakersfield who helped us make this movie as a small token of apology and a big, long-overdue welcome home to our Vietnam veterans, those who have participated in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and American veterans from all eras.”
Several songwriters contributed original music for the project. Country-roots recording artist Grant Maloy Smith gave filmmakers permission to use “I Come fromAmerica,” a song from his 2017 Billboard-charting album “Dust Bowl – American Stories.” He also has a supporting role as “Brady Cooper,” a guitarist.
“In the movie, my song is performed by a different character, but I play in the band,” Smith said. “The producers liked the song, because it celebrates the common people who madeAmerica. There is also a line in the song about Bakersfield.”
Despite its modest budget, “Oildale” has the look and feel of a much bigger movie, thanks to support from the Bakersfield community and help from many volunteers, including many Hollywood professionals who donated their time. In keeping with their grassroots business model, the filmmakers are now in Shasta County County for a stop on their 18-month Heartland Tour to screen the movie across the country in partnership with local veteran groups.
“Military men and women have sacrificed so much for this country, and many have come home carrying memories of their friends who were wounded or killed,” Salt said. “There are as many as 22 veteran suicides every day, and thousands more are struggling with physical and mental disabilities as a result of their military service. Our veterans can’t heal unless we !their fellow Americans !do our part.”
Salt has worked in the motion picture industry for more than 25 years as a writer, producer and director. She has written more than 20 screenplays, four of which have been optioned by A-list producers. A Choctaw (American Indian), Salt was a member of theAmerican Indian Registry for the Performing Arts (AIRPA) in LosAngeles. She produced and co-directed “A Good Day to Die” (2010 Kino Lorber) and co-wrote and co-produced the dramatic feature “Beautiful
Wave” (2011 Starz/Anchor Bay), starring Aimee Teegarden, Patricia Richardson, Lance Henriksen and Helen Slater.
Mueller is an award-winning director, producer and writer who began his directorial career with Universal Pictures on “New York Undercover” (Fox) and “The Wright Verdicts” (CBS), directing second unit action sequences on the streets of New York. He has directed, written and produced dozens of documentaries, national commercials and feature films. He co-produced “Dalai Lama Renaissance” (2007 Horizon), which was narrated by Harrison Ford and won 12 Best Documentary awards. He also produced and co-directed with Lynn Salt “A Good Day to Die” (2010 Kino Lorber) about Dennis Banks and the Rise of theAmerican Indian Movement (AIM), winner of six Best Documentary awards. Mueller also directed “Beautiful Wave” (2011 Starz/Anchor Bay) starring Aimee Teegarden, Patricia Richardson, Lance Henriksen and Helen Slater.
More information about “Oildale” is available atwww.OildaleTheMovie.com. A press-only password to download clips, photos and bios can be obtained by contacting the filmmakers 310-963-2633 firstname.lastname@example.org.