'Hollywood of the South'
New movie shoots scenes around town

PORTERDALE - Lately, Newton County has become a popular spot for filming small movies, commercials and other productions.

This week, another film crew came into town for its first feature, "Falling Up."

Spyplane Films, which was started by two Covington residents Ken Horstmann and Casey Wallace along with their friend Andrew Grein from Roswell, used the Porterdale Mill Lofts and the rock quarry and field on the Covington Bypass for film locations this week.

"It's getting to be the Hollywood of the South," Wallace said.

Horstmann said they wanted to shoot more scenes in Newton County but couldn't arrange it.

"We have so many friends here and a ton of support," he said.

The three started the production company a couple of years ago and have since produced several commercials, music videos and short films.

"Falling Up" is the next step in the direction the company plans to go. Horstmann said he envisions Spyplane being a film company first and foremost.

"The only way to get where we want to be is to get a nice, simple, small film together," he said.

In January, Horstmann came up with the idea for "Falling Up" - a Christian-based, coming-of-age drama about a high school senior lacrosse player whose life is turned upside down after he gets a head injury and resulting vision disorder.

"I knew I wanted to make a movie about the enlightening time anybody goes through, kid or adult," he said. "Without preaching, I wanted to tell the story of someone who's growing up and also illustrate that a lot of adults still are not grown up. If one person watches the movie and starts to make decisions for themselves, then it's a success."

Horstmann said they wanted to start the film last summer but couldn't find the right lead actor.

After waiting, they heard about 17-year-old Marietta native Randall Bentley Jr., who plays a recurring role in the NBC show "Heroes" and has had other small roles since he was about 14.

"He felt like the right kid to me; it's a great fit," Horstmann said. "I can't imagine the film without him."

After Horstmann got the script to Bentley, he said he was happy to sign up and film in between his breaks in Los Angeles.

"I really like the message it gives; it's something I can relate to," Bentley said about the film. "And it's so great because I've been in (Los Angeles), and my family and friends (in Georgia) miss me."

Spyplane has two more weeks of filming in metro Atlanta, and "Falling Up" is set to be released by the spring.

Horstmann said they also plan to shoot several scenes in Newton County for its next feature film, which they already are planning.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.