Few would argue that Hollywood and western Kentucky share much in common, but a film premiering Tuesday at Maiden Alley Cinema shows they're more similar than one would think.
Although it's set in the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles, much of the thriller "Clock Out" was shot in the streets of Paducah. And the local members of the film's cast and crew have approached the project with the dedication and enthusiasm one would ask of professionals.
"I quite literally sweated and bled for this film. I'm never going to win an Oscar for this flick ... but I love it, and I'm proud of it," Metropolis-based actor Joshua Mark Robinson said.
"Clock Out" follows the story of ex-drug addict Toby Baker, played by Robinson, who hears about a chance to make some quick cash. When he steals from the wrong people, he finds himself racing against the clock to clear his name and appease the people who are after him.
Producer Christopher Bower said filming began in August 2012 and took place in both Venice Beach and locations in and around Paducah. Local viewers may recognize some of the film's alleys and houses, as well as the Americana Hollywood Museum in Metropolis.
Bower, a Paducah resident, said he originally thought it would be impossible to make the town look like a Los Angeles neighborhood. But the crew managed without much trouble to find local sites that allowed for "a seamless location swap," he said.
Bower said the support of other Paducahans, including police and city officials, proved indispensable. Filming locally helped offset the expense of "Clock Out," which was made on a budget of only $25,000.
"Most films, you have so many costs: locations, actors, food, lodging. (But) because we make movies in this great city, we're able to get all these things for free or next to nothing. It's such a supportive community and I love making movies here," he said.
That's not to say that filming "Clock Out" was always easy.
Robinson said he sacrificed both his health and time with his family, including his two young daughters, to play the lead role. He dropped about 20 pounds, was required to chain smoke on set, and cracked a few ribs while performing the film's stunts.
The actor also had to ask for about eight weeks off work from the serving job he held at the time. But now, with a handful of projects on the horizon, his efforts are starting to bear fruit.
"It's turning into something where I couldn't get a regular job now; I don't have the time," he said. "I'm very excited. This has been something I've wanted to do since I was 12 years old, and I never thought I'd have to wait until I was 30 to get a chance to do it. But I'm very thankful it happened the way that it did."
Bower has produced other films, but "Clock Out" marks his first feature to be picked up for distribution. Canadian-based IndustryWorks Media will distribute the film, with a release date to be set in the next few months. He said he hopes to line up screenings at several independent theaters across Kentucky, and has already contracted with 10 Los Angeles theaters to show the film.
"It's my first endeavor into it. I hope it won't be my last," he said.
"Clock Out" premieres at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Maiden Alley Cinema, 112 Maiden Alley. Tickets may be purchased by visiting maidenalleycinema.com. The film's Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/clockoutmovie.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.
Want to go?
n What: Premiere of "Clock Out."
n When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.
n Where: Maiden Alley Cinema, 112 Maiden Alley.
n Visit maidenalleycinema.com for more information or to purchase tickets.