- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
Saturday night, two hundred people packed the Paris Community Theatre to view a sold out screening of the new indy hit “Bernie”. Paris Downtown Association hosted the event, converting the Community Theatre into a movie theatre, and welcomed the audience complete with a red carpet and paparazzi. Judd Payne, local boy turned Hollywood producer, received a warm round of homecoming applause as he took the stage and talked about the movie “Bernie” that his production company Winddancer Films was instrumental in producing.
The lights went down and for the next hour and half, the audience roared at the dark comedy featuring Jack Black, Shirley MacClaine and Matthew McConaughey. Directed by Richard Linklater (of “Dazed and Confused”, “Slacker” and “School of Rock” fame), “Bernie” is based on real life events that took place up the road in the east Texas town of Carthage. The humor in the film poked fun at east Texans stereotyped characters. One audience member commented, “It’s funny that we can laugh at ourselves, but it’s a lot easier since Carthage is the butt of the joke and not us!”
Following the movie, Payne took questions from the audience and expressed his delight that the movie is getting great reviews coast to coast in publications from Rolling Stone to The New Yorker. He also noted that the per screen revenue for Bernie has thus far been the highest of any independent film in 2012.
After answering questions about how them movie has been received and his role in the making of the film, one of the highlights of the evening came when the announced them upcoming movie in the works called “Believe” about the 1988 State Champion Paris Wildcats and their legendary coach Allen Wilson. Payne has been working to get Terrell native Jamie Foxx to play Allen Wilson and will be meeting with him to hopefully finalize Foxx’s role next month. Payne then showed the audience a two-minute ”teaser” that was developed to give Foxx and his people the look and feel of the upcoming movie. When the lights came up after the “Believe” teaser, there were audience members throughout the theater wiping tears off their cheeks amid cheers and roaring applause.
A reception at the Plaza Art Gallery followed allowing Payne to catch up with old friends who had turned out for the event. The screening was put on as a fundraiser conceived by the Paris Downtown Association to raise money for the newly established Downtown Revitalization Fund that will make available grant money for business owners looking to improve the exteriors of their buildings for the betterment of the downtown historic district.
“It was an outstanding event,” said PDA co-president Melissa Gordon of Paris Baby. “Ticket sales, sponsorships, and silent auction items grossed over $11,000…and it was such a fun evening!”.