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Drought, Cool ranchland paints rustic cinematic backdrop

Independent film ‘The Divide’ shooting in El Dorado County

By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal

 

August 25, 2015

A movie about drought both personal and climatological, “The Divide” has started filming on ranchland in the Cool area of El Dorado County.

The independent film features actor-director Perry King (TV’s “Riptide,” “The Day After Tomorrow”) in a film that will involve 30 days of on-location shooting during a real-life time of drought.

King, who’s raised beef cattle on his ranch for 20 years, said that the drought has meant dropping the number of cattle grazing on his land from 110 to 35 – but retaining a couple of calves to be part of filming.

With the herd all grass-fed, King said that the setting in “The Divide” – Northern California ranchland during the 1976 drought – was all too real.

The threat of fire as the grassland dries out in the late summer is exacerbated by the danger not only to ranch buildings but now also to damaging the locations earmarked for filming over the next month. More than 90 percent of the film will be shot on King’s spread and neighboring ranch property owned by Laura Lehman’s long-time El Dorado County ranching family.

“This film means more to me than my house,” King said. “If the grass was burned over we would have to stop shooting.”

On Monday, King and major member of “The Divide” cast assembled to thank the Cool community for its support. King plays a rancher, whose life is unraveling as a drought parches Northern California.

“We are so excited about this film,” King said. “We are blessed to have an incredible cast and crew for ‘The Divide’ and I can’t say enough how grateful we are to all those in the

community who support us. I am convinced this film is going to be something I will be proud to be part of.”

The cast also includes Bryan Kaplan, Levi Kreis, Sara Arrington and Luke Colombero.

King has been dreaming for years of filming a movie on his King Ranch, a 500-acre spread. His vision will be put onto film through the lens of veteran cinematographer Russ Rayburn.

Rayburn said that the atmosphere of “The Divide” is about clear, blue skies and parched grassland. So far, Northern California has delivered those requirements, the Chicago-area resident said.

Any adjustments for smoke or other weather factors should be taken in stride, he said.

“I’ve been doing this for almost 50 years, I’ve filmed in all 50 states and in 29 countries,” Rayburn said. “Every place is different.”

Among the locations, besides the ranches, will be the cemetery in Georgetown and the Milestone Bar in Cool, he said.

And with the movie’s completion, King said that he’s already looking forward to a premiere at the State Theatre in Auburn, the closest movie house to the community where “The Divide” is currently being shot.

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