Mitchell native making her mark in Hollywood with pandemic movie


A new movie, set to be released nationwide Friday, has a very eerie and familiar plot.

The movie, directed by a Mitchell native, is about a Hollywood actress whose rising career is cut short when an influenza pandemic sends her back to her small town.

‘Before the Fire’ has received acclaim as a frightening and timely look at how our lives can be turned upside down by a global pandemic.

The film has garnered a lot of attention due to its striking similarity to what’s happening in our world today.

“The pandemic in the movie isn’t the main story, it’s more of a backdrop,” lead actress Jenna Lyng Adams said.

Jenna Lyng Adams, who wrote the script several years ago, plays Ava Boone in the movie. She flees Los Angeles during the pandemic and it sends her back to the small town she fled years before.

But she finds something more dangerous than any virus.

Don Jorgensen: Obviously you had no idea something like this was going to happen.

Jenna: Yeah I had no idea, researching what would happen in a pandemic was way trickier when I was writing this, because there wasn’t much available, we had to pull from a whole bunch of different sources and contacts to how this community would react.

The film is directed by South Dakota’s Charlie Buhler, who chose her home state, as a location to do all the filming.

KELOLAND News was on location five years ago, when the casting crew and filmmakers were shooting scenes near Letcher.

“It was so special to be able to do it at home, I don’t think it would have been possible without having the communities of Mitchell where we shot, Letcher, Delmont where they closed down roads for us, we shot at restaurants, we shot at Buckshots in Letcher and this is a movie we couldn’t have made in LA,” Buhler said.

Buhler is one of very few female directors in the business of filmmaking.

“Usually the types of movies that women are allowed to make are limited, intimate dramas, but to make a large action movie, usually only male directors are able to do that, and that’s why we chose to build the movie from the ground up, so we could show what we were able to do and not have to work within the limited constraints of what people think what women should be able to do,” Buhler said.

Now Buhler is grateful to be able to launch a premiere showing in her hometown of Mitchell this Friday.

“It’s such a relief to finally getting it out to the world, I’m so happy we are having a premier in Mitchell tomorrow and I’m just so excited for my hometown to see it, for the community that made it possible to see it on the big screen, and that things have now calmed down enough for people to see it in theaters in South Dakota at least, which is really important to me,” Buhler said.

It’ll also be shown at other select theaters and Video on Demand.

“I hope South Dakotans go see it in the theaters, because that’s the best way to see it, but for other people in the country who aren’t so lucky to have theaters open they’ll be able to see it on VOD,” Buhler said.

Buhler says what normally would feel like a sci-fi movie, now feels like reality. Even though, this is her first film, it’s probably not her last.

“This film has for sure set the stage for me to have a larger career and I’m so grateful for it,” Buhler said.

‘Before the Fire’ opens at select theaters across South Dakota and North Dakota and through Video on Demand. To learn more, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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