Bakersfield will get a taste of Hollywood on Saturday for the red carpet world premiere of “Oildale” at the Fox Theater.
Filmed on location in Bakersfield last year, the movie focuses on a group of homeless veterans searching for a place to belong. Upon arrival into Kern County and the community of Oildale, they cross paths with teen siblings Pete (played by Caleb Brown) and Carlie (Jessica Castello) struggling to make ends meet. In exchange for their hospitality, and room and board rentals, the men band together to help Carlie, an aspiring country singer, become "Bakersfield’s next singing star" at an amateur night staged at the Fox Theater.
With country music being one of the featured elements in the film’s storyline, a number of local and out-of-town music professionals were cast in the film, including Bakersfield keyboardist and film co-producer Rick Davis, bassist Steve Flores (Thee Majestics) and Rhode Island-based singer-songwriter Grant Maloy Smith. Cast as guitarist Brady Cooper, Smith also had his song “I Come From America” featured in one of the film’s scenes.
“The filmmakers came to one of my concerts in Los Angeles and heard me perform,” said Smith during a recent interview. “One of my songs really struck them, and they approached me after the show about putting it in their film. A few months later I was on set, performing the song at the Fox Theater. It was just luck, in a way.”
Taken from Smith’s critically acclaimed release “Dust Bowl – American Stories,” the song is perfectly suited to the film’s overt patriotic Americana themes.
“They are not your typical Hollywood types at all — they wanted to make a heartfelt film from day one: a film that struck deep at the American heart and values, and one which honored the sacrifices that our military men and women make on our behalf. It’s about the intersection of young and old, and what it means to be an American.”
Smith said he was honored to be part of the production.
“When the band that Rick Davis assembled for the film played my song and nailed every single lick from my song. I was stunned and amazed,” Smith recalled of his days during filming. “What a great few days that was. Also, getting to see the studio where Buck Owens recorded so many classic hits. Performing my album for the students at the high school that Merle went to. Music is a warm blanket that welcomes us all.”
Smith, whose father served as a pilot in the Vietnam era, said the film’s message is more important than ever. Another of his original songs, “Man of Steel” was chosen as the theme of the National Veterans Foundation.
“My family is filled with vets: my dad, both uncles, both granddads, and all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Those men and women do the hard thing so that the rest of us don’t have to. When they come back, we owe them our best to help them to restart their lives.”
For Saturday’s red carpet premiere, members of the film’s cast will be present along with producers David Mueller and Lynn Salt, musicians, extras and Smith, who will be doing the rounds before the big event where he looks forward to celebrating with locals.
“Bakersfield has a proud history, and you should cherish it and make sure that your next generations know what happened here.”
Tickets for Saturday’s premiere are $10 or $50 with cast meet and greet.
Doors open at 6 p.m, with red carpet arrivals followed by the meet and greet. Screening starts at 7 p.m. All event proceeds will benefit the Wounded Heroes Fund and the Fox Theater Foundation. For more information, visit thebakersfieldfox.com or call 324-1369.
Ginger Cowgirl, 7 p.m. Friday, Temblor Brewing Co., 3200 Buck Owens Blvd. $5.
California-born, Nashville-livin’ mutli-talented Stacy Antonel, aka Ginger Cowgirl has made quite a name for herself with a vocal versatility that allows her to sing rock, jazz, soul, pop and country. She got her start in the music industry singing jingles while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and back at home she snagged the $10,000 grand prize on Fox’s televised singing competition “3 Minutes to Stardom” in 2013. The Berkeley grad can sing with the best of them with one of the most unique voices I’ve heard in sometime. Also performing Friday night is Vince Galindo and Country Deluxe, playing all the “real country” classics to please the most ardent purists. Check out music by Ginger Cowgirl at gingercowgirl.com.