The population of the tiny DeSoto Parish town of Keatchie will increase exponentially this week as the cast, crew and hundreds of extras descend on Circle T Ranch for the final week of shooting of the independent, family film “Dakota’s Summer.” The coming-of-age drama is a companion film to “Cowgirls ‘n Angels” released last year. It’s a glimpse into the world of the competitive cowgirl rodeo circuit.
Director Tim Armstrong is wrapping up a 20-day shoot with about 60 crew members in northwest Louisiana. He said the most pivotal scenes will be shot this week in Keatchie.
The filming of "Dakota’s Summer" was initially planned for east Texas. But just weeks before shooting, producer Ben Feingold said they looked around northwest Louisiana and ultimately were lured by the state’s robust film tax credit incentive program.
“The more that we were looking at locations and the budget, the more we thought we could just scoot across the state line. The look of the movie would be the same, and there also was a good crew base in Louisiana," Feingold said.
Armstrong hopes this film is embraced as part of the culture base of the area. And if the stars align, he said, “Dakota’s Summer” will get a wide release.
Meanwhile, Feingold is calling for extras to fill the rodeo arena.
"If you like rural culture or horses or indie movies, I think it’s a great place to spend some time on Saturday, or even drop in during the week while we’re filming," Feingold said, who suggests extras pack a picnic lunch and head to Circle T Ranch.
The filmmakers said post-production will be completed back in California, and will be ready for audiences to preview around Thanksgiving.