Locally-filmed movie, ‘Prodigal,’ to open Sept. 16 at Plymouth Mann

Poster for 'Prodigal' includes Dylan Borger as Levi, Alix Kermes as his girlfriend Abigail, and Jeff Litfin as his pastor father.

by Bruce Strand, Arts editor

A full-length movie filmed in Elk River by a fledgling local production company will make its theatre debut soon.

The faith-based and family-friendly drama called “Prodigal” is the first project of Lost Coin Productions, co-owned by Chet Borger of Elk River and starring his son Dylan. Filming was completed in August of 2009.

The movie will open at the Mann Theatre in Plymouth on Friday, Sept. 16, show times at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 p.m.

“It will run for at least a week,” said Chet Borger, adding that “private money” is allowing this to happen. “Depending on attendance that weekend, it could be showing longer than a week.”

Joseph Castanon and CeCe Robledo play the young Levi and Abigail.

“Prodigal” was co-written and directed by Aaron Huggett, creative director of Living Word Christian Church of Brooklyn Park. Mark Harper of Brooklyn Park is co-owner with Borger and helped write the screenplay.

Dylan Borger, who was 18 during filming, plays Levi Layton, a teen who’s grown tired of small-town life and the expectations of being a preacher’s son.

When he receives a $1,000 inheritance from his grandfather, he sees a chance to break away to a new life of fast cars, parties and new friends, with his girl friend, Abigail, played by Alix Kermes of Albert Lea, and best friend Tyler, played by Dan Huggett (Aaron’s brother). Dylan was resentful that his father, played by Jeff Litfin of Booklyn Park, is more concerned about his congregation than about his son.

Aaron Huggett, the director, checked footage during filming in Elk River in 2009.

“It’s a faith-based film with a great message,” said Chet Borger, who serves as Executive Producer. “We have gotten some good  comments at screenings.”

Post-filming work — such as colorization, sound, and music — was completed this past February. The instrumental movie score was written by Dominic Messenger of Los Angeles, and some Christian rap by a Twin Cities artist Tru Serva was also used.

The first screening, for cast, crew and families, and a total audience of about 600, was held soon after at the Mann in Champlin Park, said Borger.

“We entered some film festivals,” said Borgers, “and the best one for us was Nashville Faith Films Festival, where they showed us to some distributors. We have had some offers but nothing is signed.”

Borger said that Lost Coin hopes to follow the model of a similar project in Georgia called “Facing the Giants” which had a good run at a local theatre and wound up being distributed by Sony. If that doesn’t happen, another option is going straight to DVD, he said.

“The Prodigal:  was largely a Borger family project as Chet’s wife Lisa was arts and wardrobe director and younger son Andrew was a stage hand.

Another local actor was Lexi Yeado, 2008 ERHS graduate who plays Tyler’s girlfriend Vanessa. Yeado recently appeared in two episodes of a BET reality show about dancers called “Born to Dance: Laurieann Gibson” and has moved to Los Angeles to pursue a show business career.

Dylan Borger recently graduated from a film school in Grand Rapids and is working in the film industry there, said Chet, who is a mortgage broker for United Family Mortgage of Elk River. The Borger boys were home-schooled.

Elk Rivere sites in the film include the bar scenes  at McCoy’s, hospital scenes at Guardian Angels, and church scene at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church,

“The process took a little longer than anticipated in post-production,” said Borger, “but Prodigal has been an enjoyable project for all involved.”

The Borger family, always fascinated with the medium, made little indie films, church films and commercials before taking the plunge for a feature film. Chet Borger and Mark Harper are majority ownes and Hugget minority owner of Lost Coin Productions.