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The University developed a beneficial relationship with Hollywood, most notably on 'Patch Adams' (above). But while UNC officials consider the 'Patch Adams”
filming a pleasant experience, some movies like "Kiss the Girls" (below) were not granted location rights due to their violent content.
The Final Cut: Filming at UNC
Bv Elliott Dube
Hollywood can recreate many places on its many
stages and sets. But sometimes it likes to go for the
red thing - and when it looks for the perfect college
town, Chapel Hill is usually under consideration.
As die state’s film industry has grown to the point
i where it produced $250 million in revenues in 2000,
l both UNC’s architecture and the town’s friendly
nature have drawn filmmaker interest.
William Arnold, director of the N.C. Film
Commission, said he believes the area has even
more to offer besides the right look. “(North
Carolina has) a willingness to consider filmmak
ing proposals, which a lot of other places just turn
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down right at the outset because they don’t want
to be bothered,” he said
UNC receives roughly six to 12 proposals a
year, but not all make die cuL Only selected
films can shoot on campus. The 1998 Robin
Williams comedy “Patch Adams” was suc-
cessful in doing so - the 1997 Morgan
Freeman thriller “Kiss the Girls” was not
And the requests keep coming. “The
Pink House,” an independent film that was
written, directed and produced by UNC
alumni, was denied permission to film on
University grounds this summer. The
crew shot much of the film in Chapel
Hill in July and August.
The town isn’t just attracting movie
crews. The popular television series
“Dawson’s Creek,” which airs 8 p.m.
Wednesdays on the WB network, will
primarily film at Duke this season.
While plans to shoot at UNC are ten-
tative, Producer David Hartley said
UNC is considered as a location.
“We love UNC as well, and the
town of Chapel Hill and the folks at
UNC have been terrific,” he said.
“We just don’t know until we get a
script if we need to go up there.
I It’s very possible. We shot a little
I thing today.”
These Films Shot Locally, or at Least Tried to, but How Did They Turn Out?
Like a little barking terrier, “Patch Adams”
tries so hard to get you where it hurts, but in
the end, it’s just a little ball of fluff.
Hunter Adams (Robin Williams) checks
out of a psychiatric hospital, determined to
help humankind. He heads to the Virginia
Medical College (set at UNC) and clashes
l with his tight-lipped doctor superiors.
I Robin Williams gives an earnest per-
formance but not a particularly funny
one. Williams is best off the cuff, and the
scenes in which Adams amuses his
patients are too scripted to suit his
Similarly, the theme of old - versus
new- medicine isn’t anew idea. If the
i attempt was to show Patch’s work as
I earth shattering, the message gets lost
I in the saccharin sweetness.
In order for any of these productions to shoot, both
filmmakers and local officials must agree on the area’s
appropriateness. In the case of “Patch Adams,” film
makers sent location managers to scout the campus,
take pictures and draw storyboards. And with the pro
ducer’s approval, other crew members studied the area.
Once the crew believes in the location, the
University must give its permission.
“Patch Adams” paid $3,500 a day to shoot on
campus and brought another $3 million into the area
through extra costs like lodging, supplies and reim
bursements to UNC for changes it made to the cam
pus. But as of June 2000, the General Assembly
passed a bill that eliminated all fees for the use of
state buildings and public property in film produc
tions. The bill added that such property can only be
reimbursed for any changes or lost revenues
incurred during filmmaking. The University falls
under the considerations of the bill.
So money is no longer a factor, but the University’s
image is. UNC always has been careful in choosing
whether to allow certain film crews on campus, said
But it’s worth it just to see paper-mache female
legs propped outside the entrance to Murphey
Hall in a- ahem - suggestive fashion.
“Kiss the Girls”
Even though the book from which it’s based is set
in Chapel Hill, the film “Kiss the Girls” only shows
a glimpse of Franklin Street because the Chapel Hill
Town Council didn’t permit filming in the area.
While the film’s finished product (shot in
Durham) is predictable and formulaic, “Kiss the
Girls” still rises above typical suspense fare.
In this film Morgan Freeman plays Dr. Alex
Cross, ajames Patterson character that recurred in
2001’s “Along Came a Spider.”
“Kiss the Girls” is the stronger of the two,
thanks to great performances by Freeman and
Ashley Judd. But it’s unfortunate almost every plot
point is obvious, and the police officers are mere
anti-Yankee, good ol’ Southern boys.
Thursday, November 1, 2001
Karen Moon, broadcast manager for UNC News
Services. Moon served as the liaison between the
“Patch Adams” crew and UNC throughout the project
The content of a film’s script comes under major
consideration. “We want to make sure it isn’t some
thing that creates a detrimental image of the
University because of the nature of the project,” said
Susan Kitchen, vice chancellor for student affairs.
Kitchen is a member of the Chancellor’s Film
Review Committee, which approves filming and han
dles the shooting’s logistics. The committee consists of
UNC administrators and other departments or ser
vices affected by a production. It meets if Moon gives
tentative approval of the script
Upon script approval, the committee determines to
what degree a film disrupts students’ daily lives. Also,
it considers opportunities for students, faculty and staff
to work on the production. Preferably, students can
work as extras, interns or production assistants.
The relationship between the small town and the
big film industry actually began to flourish with a
production that didn’t make it to Chapel Hill.
The film is unrealistic, but it still comes from the
Hollywood cookie cutter characterizing the film.
A documentary within a documentary,
“Sherman’s March” is a quirky odyssey through
the South, including Chapel Hill.
Filmmaker Ross McElwee wanted to trace
General Sherman’s path through Dixie
at the Civil War’s end, but instead
found himself dragged down by his /
So, he turned his camera into a ’
tool for first-person narration and
filmed his every
move. He comes
across personalities 1
too twisted to be
a former high school
■ Bring the ibuprofen Yes, David Lynch has
returned, phoenix-like, to confuse us all. Michael
Anderson plays Mr. Roque in Lynch's latest mind
bender, “Mulholland Drive." . _
__ ... page 7
Universal Studios got
close to shooting “The
Nutty Professor," a come
dy starring Eddie
Murphy, on the UNC
campus. Instead, the studio
chose to film at home in
Los Angeles after the 1995
“Waterworld” went vasdy
over budget Arnold said that
Universal wanted to control
But it was two years before
Tom Shadyac, director of “The
Nutty Professor," was looking at
Chapel Hill again - for “Patch
Adams.” The film was shot
throughout die campus, and both
Moon and Kitchen maintained
that the filming went smoothly.
But not all interested productions
art as successful. UNC rejected “Kiss
the Girls” because of its violent con
tent The leaders of Chapel Hill chose
not to accommodate the film’s crew.
“They wanted to film a chase scene
with shooting on Franklin Street, and 1
we don’t rent Franklin Street to any- '
body,” said Town Manager Cal Horton.
The Chapel Hill Town Council cited
its policy against restricting public
streets to private concerns, so the crew
filmed crowds in Chapel Hill by driving
cameras through busy streets.
While some films struggle to get the '
support of the University and the town,
the successful operation that was “Patch
Adams” has brightened the future for film
ing on the UNC campus.
The studios of Hollywood and the campus
of UNC might be physically separated by the
entire span of the country. But from a profes
sional standpoint, they are closer than ever.
The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be
reached at email@example.com.
teacher who’s rabidly trying to marry
him off. The result is a hilarious, painful
insight into a lonely man.
While the film is long-winded and 30
minutes too long, seeing the South’s
eccentricities is worth it
By Allison Rost
i to trace 11
I ilms That Did Not
oi Could Kol ilioot
in tlio town oi at
L "Kiss the Oil Is" was
not Given sole use ef
I lanLlin Street by
Chapel Mill officials.
L "Dawson's Clock"
chose tc shoot at Duke
Univeisily but considcis
UNC a fuluie option.
L "The- Nutty I’iofessor"
wanted to shoot at
UNC but filmed in
Hollywood to trim the
L "everybody's Ail-
at UNC, but weather
conditions fen cod
the film tc> i elocatc
r to Louisiana.