The movie “WebGirl” takes place in the fictional town of Derry Hill, but one need not look too deeply to see Augusta is all over the film.
For starters, it was shot in Augusta and Hallowell.
An Augusta resident, James Stiles, wrote, directed, produced and appears in it.
It features multiple actors with Augusta ties.
It was edited and scored by Augusta natives.
And even its movie poster features an image of downtown Augusta and the Kennebec River, superimposed with the film’s title and two of its actors, Tim Gato, of South Portland, and Carrie LaChance, of Portland, who was co-owner of the former downtown Augusta shop ArchEnemys with her husband, Nate LaChance, who also acts in “WebGirl.”
That makes sense, because the film, which premieres Wednesday in Waterville, was a labor of love for multiple Augusta residents.
“I’ve been going to the theater since I was a kid, so to be able to see my work on the big screen is an incredible feeling,” said Jason LeBlanc, an Augusta musician and entertainer who served as musical director for the film, who wrote, arranged and performed all the music for the movie, except for one song. “There’s a great sense of accomplishment. It’s exciting. It may not be Hollywood, but for us, it’s a big deal.”
The independent film was originally begun by Stiles, who also films weddings and works casting roles for other’s films, in 2006. But his original editor, according to LeBlanc, left the project, so Stiles was forced to start over.
Augusta native and Bangor resident Josh Meader took over editing in 2011.
Now, finally, the film is about to premiere, with, thus far, only one showing at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville. Tickets are available at the door, for $8, or available online.
The movie tells the story of what happens when Carrie LaChance’s character, a “webgirl” pinup model, goes to the small town of Derry Hill, where she falls in love with a local man who has a fascination with her.
A local politician, played by Stiles, wants to keep the quiet small town quiet, something that isn’t helped by the arrival of the webgirl, who “turns the town upside down,” said LeBlanc, who describes the film as a romantic comedy and drama.
“It’s a great film, a great story,” the 39-year-old LeBlanc said. “It makes you feel.”
The local residents involved in the film hope it will be picked up in more theaters and become available to more people, such as through Netflix.
“James, Josh and I have talked about it, we’re trying to get to the point where this is what we do,” for a living, said LeBlanc, who plays music on weekends and cleans an office building as his day job. “This film is a chance to show everybody what we’re capable of doing.”
Keith Edwards — 621-5647