VIDEO: National Commercial Shot In Chapman Barn
KSAL Staff - June 8, 2015 10:13 am
The producers of a national commercial that was shot in a Kansas field, and a Chapman barn, are reminiscing about what they call a “career-shaping” event.
Zach Lowry, from New York based Flex Collective writes:
“A little over a year ago we finished shooting a commercial that would stay with us forever. The memories, friends and lessons formed during those few days will shape our careers. With the help of a few driven and passionate ‘Kansans,’ we produced a story that otherwise would have never been told.
In November 2013, we had an idea for a commercial. A commercial that showed America, love, passion and an appreciation for the preservation of the past. The spot is a heartwarming, generational narrative that takes place in 1975 midwestern America, centered around the act of passing on a tradition from one generation to the next.Over the next 7 months, we developed that idea and moved it from a piece of paper to a film production. The commercial we were dreaming of needed a very specific barn, 1965 red Mustang (with white racing stripes) and authentic, wholesome Midwestern Americans. We reached out to hundreds of farmers across the Mid-west of the United States to find these things, but it was to no avail. However, one day the doors of opportunity were opened. Through Marci Penner, the Kansas Sampler Foundation, and The Kansas Barn Alliance, we received over 2,500 responses from farmers after an email blast detailing our requirements for the barn. Eventually, were contacted by local photographer Kevin Kirkwood. Kevin introduced us to the perfect barn. The 114-year old barn is on land that had previously been farmed for over 4 decades by Kevin’s wife, Julie’s family in the 20th century. and is now owned by farmer Lonnie Heigele. Lonnie was more than happy to donate his barn to such a beautiful narrative, and was extremely accommodating to the remodeling we needed to do in the barn. Over the following months, Kevin and a strong team of local farmers and friends worked together to restore the barn and build it to spec. Without being asked, the group put over 500-man-hours into the barn. Never complaining, never questioning and never asking for anything in return. Kevin worked tirelessly to fix the barn, locate a car, actors, and anything else we needed to create the world of the narrative. Every prop, location, and car you see in the commercial was donated for free our of love for the story we told. The story couldn’t have come alive in the fashion it did if every element wasn’t completely genuine and authentic.
When time for shooting finally arrived, everything was in order. We arrived in Chapman, KS to find the barn in beautiful condition, the cars as we had requested and the town ready to help. Kevin had done much more than answer our needs; he had rallied the entire state of Kansas to help us. People from Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City, Salina, Chapman and especially the city of Abilene all came together under one common bond: a story. To be a part of something they believed represented America, and the American Dream.
Throughout the weekend, we were floored by the outpouring of help, support and admiration. We saw that these people believed in us. Despite our being young film producers from across the country, they never doubted us, never questioned and never stopped believing. As we departed the barn, and turned around to drive back to New York City, we couldn’t help but replay the past 7 months in our minds. Our idea had just become a reality. We were leaving Kanas, but the love and support from Kansas were not leaving us.
In the months following the production, the support did not stop. Kevin, and everyone who helped in Kansas, truly cared. They checked in often, invited us back, offered support and never stopped believing in us.
We have decided to release the commercial today, close to the one year anniversary of its production. The story of its production, the selflessness of the people in Kansas and the collaboration of this piece is something that not be untold any longer. We can’t wait to come back and shoot in Kansas.