Killeen’s first feature film, “1040 Not So EZ,” wrapped Sunday at Lil-Tex Restaurant in Copperas Cove just before dawn.
Andre and Lucrisa Hillard, producers and owners of Cinemahill Productions, completed their first cinematic dream at the end of an exhilarating and exhausting 12-day shoot.
“This film experience was exciting, fun and I truly enjoyed every moment of it,” said Lucrisa Hillard.
The movie is about a Ponzi scheme that turns out bad as an Army sergeant and his buddies try to make it rich by outsmarting the government, but then karma happens.
It took Andre Hillard three years and three revisions to complete the script.
“About half of the story is based on my military experience helping soldiers at an on-post tax center,” he said.
More than 30 cast members and seven crew shuttled between 15 locations around the area.
Among them were Texas Tax Angles & Bookkeeping, Top’s Pizza and Killeen Memorial Park.
The Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport was the site of multiple scenes, with the staff earning praise from the Hillards.
“We had access to the entire airport and received a lot of support from everyone, especially Mike Wilson, airport operations manager, and Brian Eaton, airport operations supervisor,” Lucrisa Hillard said.
The majority of the cast were novices appearing in a film for the first time, including Angela Patterson-Young, a Harker Heights resident. She played a customer that almost started a riot at the fraudulent tax office.
“Awesome, awesome, awesome. It was so interesting and fun, but making a movie is work,” said Patterson-Young.
Lead actor Art Stroman, who played Benjamin, has worked as a model and actor in numerous commercials, TV and film productions, including “Evan Almighty” and “All My Children.”
But this film experience was more like a family environment compared to other productions.
“I’ve seen more people showing support for each other and Andre and Lucrisa went above and beyond with their first film,” Stroman said. “I’m so blessed to be a part of it.”
Now, director David H. Nguyen will edit the film with plans for a release in early 2017, including in film festivals. Nguyen was impressed with his first film experience in the Killeen area.
“The community was very welcoming and I would love to return to shoot another movie here,” he said.
At the end of the long filming process, everyone was pumped up to see the finished film next year, and what it will also mean to the community’s film future.
“I think Killeen has potential in the film business,” Andre Hillard said.