OAKHURST — A movie crew took over Fresno Flats Historical Village and Park on Saturday to shoot scenes for a new movie called “Ride to Iron Mountain.”
The movie is being directed by Brian Anderson, a former professional musician turned film maker, whose previous credits include a six-and-a-half hour, 10-part documentary available on Facebook called “Biker America: God and Country.”
Anderson is also the producer and editor of “Ride to Iron Mountain” — and he wrote the screenplay.
“Ride to Iron Mountain” is being shot mostly in Madera, Mariposa and Merced counties. Later next month, Anderson has rented the North Fork Rec Center for a daylong shoot.
Although a scheduled afternoon scene involving about 20 motorcycle riders rumbling away from the park had to be canceled because of rainy weather, Anderson and his crew spent Saturday morning filming about a dozen scenes in and around the the park’s century-old structures.
The former principle trumpet player for the Fresno Philharmonic, Anderson performed for nearly 30 years in and around Central California and the Bay Area but says he pivoted to film making in 2014 when his front teeth “gave out” and he could no longer blow his horn.
An avid motorcyclist himself, Anderson thinks the media has given bikers “a bad image.”
“This project is not your typical biker flick,” Anderson says.”My movie is not about motorcycle clubs or gangs. It’s about more or less regular people who just happen to ride motorcycles.”
“When most people think of biker films, they think of classics like ‘Easy Rider’ or ‘The Wild Ones,” Anderson says.
“My movie is more like ‘The Waltons’ on motorcycles. It actually has all sorts of elements — mystery, suspense, horror, even some Christian-oriented themes.”
Anderson, who is collaborating with a metal band on the sound track, said he didn’t “have the budget” to hire A-list stars but does have a number of veteran actors playing key roles in the film, including Arizona Olave, Geovanna Casanova and Susan Adams.
Scenes filmed Saturday at Fresno Flats included a baby shower where the mother-to-be gets a toddler-sized motorcycle as one of her gifts.
North Fork resident Ed Tannehill plays “grandpa” in the movie. “Grandpa does the voice over at the beginning and then kind of narrates the stories about the individuals in Iron Mountain,” he says.
Tannehill is a member of the Central Sierra Chapter of Bikers for Christ and wore his black leather club vest for Saturday’s shoot.
“Everything I do is about Jesus Christ,” he said. “I feel really blessed to be part of this movie.”
Annette Traylor-Smart, also a North Fork resident, plays a cocktail waitress and extra motorcycle rider in the film. “I’m very excited,” she said. “Up to now, I’ve only really acted in school plays.”
While he was getting a pre-filming touch up from Fresno makeup artist Christina Lyons, veteran TV and movie actor Jeffrey Smith ran a few of his lines.
Smith has appeared in episodes of “Tales of the Frontier” and “I Almost Got Away with It.” He lives in Fresno and has a full-time job in the medical equipment field.
“Really, I do this because I enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun,” he says.
Smith says the turning point in his life happened a number of years ago when his wife died of cancer at the age of 34. “After that,” he says, “I just decided I’m going to raise my kids and try to do what I like to do best, which is acting.”
Jener DaSilva, another Fresno resident, plays a cyber security expert named Travis in the movie. “I used to live in L.A. but I got really tired of the whole scene there. Since I moved to the Central Valley, I’ve actually been working more.”
DaSilva is developing and writing his own script and says “my dream is to act, write and produce.”
So far, DaSilva’s credits include several feature films shot in L.A. and a number of TV commercials.
“This has been an interesting project to be part of,” DaSilva said between takes. “I really enjoy working with an experienced director like Brian.”
“Ride to Iron Mountain” is about halfway through filming and scheduled to wrap in August.
Anderson said the movie could be released some time in 2020 or 2021.