By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
A family trip to the Tri-Cities area in Washington State helped Dale Peterson decide on where his movie should be filmed. “When I saw the beauty of the topography, I decided to do part of the filming here,” stated Peterson.
In fact, according to Peterson’s wife, Wendy, also a producer for the film, about 99 percent of the film was shot on location in Washington State.
Wendy Peterson, who is Asian American, balanced her busy schedule as an attorney to assist with the film. Her law firm also assisted with legal logistics for the film including drafting contracts and working with local businesses on behalf of the film.
Filmed in the summer of 2013 in the Tri-Cities area, “Hello, My Name is Frank,” is an unconventional movie in which a middle-aged shut-in with Tourette’s syndrome (Frank) ventures out of his comfort zone and goes on a road trip with the teenage daughter of his deceased caretaker and her two friends. While the plot sounds unusual, the film is part comedy and part drama and the dynamic between the young characters and Frank mesh during the movie. Tourette’s syndrome is a disorder of the nervous system which causes a person to have involuntary, unusual repetitive movements or unwanted sounds. The actor playing Frank, Garrett Brown, studied extensively with renowned acting coach Larry Moss for the role to ensure the authenticity.
The filmmakers worked with the locals to make the film. This included using many of the people in the Tri-Cities as extras and working with the city of Kennewick and the local businesses in shooting scenes. The cast and crew patronized the local businesses as they used many of the restaurants and hotels for food and lodging.
“Hello, My Name is Frank,” was privately funded through individual investors that believed in Peterson’s vision.
“I was inspired to write the story after seeing a documentary about a man with Tourette’s,” recalled Peterson.
The movie is Peterson’s first feature film although he has worked for 20 years in various positions within the film industry. In 2011, he won awards for a film short at the Manhattan and Palm Beach Film Festivals. He also won a Best Director award at the Los Angeles ITN Film and New Media Festival.
There were logistical issues with most of the cast and crew coming from Southern California as there are no direct flights from Southern California (where most of the cast and crew were based) to the Tri-Cities. Yet, all involved were happy to accommodate the flight schedules
One of the stars in the film is Hayley Kiyoko. “I fell in love with the script,” recalled Kiyoko. Kiyoko plays Alisa, a free spirit that is not afraid to live life to the fullest. Kiyoko based her role in “Hello, My Name is Frank,” on people she knew. “I try to channel my character with girls I went to high school with,” said Kiyoko of her inspiration for the role. She was born in Southern California with roots to perform. Her father was an actor/comedian and her mother a figure skater. Kiyoko’s mother, Sarah Kawahara is Japanese.
Aside from acting, Kiyoko is a singer and songwriter. She just released a new album EP, “This Side of Paradise.”
She will undoubtedly use her skills when she appears in the upcoming movie version of the popular 1980s cartoon series “Jem and the Holograms.” The movie is set to release October 2015.
Perhaps her most visible role to date is that of Raven Ramirez on the new spin-off of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, “CSI:Cyber,” which will be airing on CBS during the 2014-2015 network season.
Over 300 people attended a recent private screening of “Hello, My Name is Frank,” in Long Beach, California for invited guests and investors of the film. Several extras that appeared in the movie traveled down from the Tri-Cities to watch themselves on the big screen.
At this point, Peterson has submitted the film to various film festivals including the Seattle International Film Festival which holds its festival in late spring. The hope is that the film will be picked up by a festival and buzz will be generated that it may garner wider distribution. (end)
For more information on the film, visit: https://www.facebook.com/HelloMyNameIsFrank.
For more information on Hayley Kiyoko, visit: http://www.hayleykiyokoofficial.com/ or follow her on twitter @HayleyKiyoko.
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.