Free Showing of 'Paradise Falls'

Article Published: Jul. 14, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

The 1996 independent movie production "Paradise Falls," filmed entirely on location in Jackson, Macon and Haywood counties of western North Carolina and in the Great Smoky Mountains, will be shown at the Watauga County Library at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20. The showing is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

"Paradise Falls" was the brainchild of Sylva native Sean Bridgers, whose original story idea was co-written for the screen with his mother, the western North Carolina novelist Sue Ellen Bridgers. Sean also stars in the film as the young Henry Bancroft, an Appalachian mountain tobacco farmer who turns to crime with his best friend Oshel to save the family farm from foreclosure.

Sean Bridgers is continuing to pursue an acting career in Hollywood. He's appeared in more than 20 theatrical and TV movies, including the Jodie Foster movie "Nell" in 1994, appeared in featured roles in many TV series, including most recently "True Blood" and "Justified," and had a reoccurring role in all 36 episodes of "Deadwood" as Al Swearengen's barman, Johnny Burns.

"Paradise Falls" also stars western North Carolina character actor Nick Searcy as a legendary outlaw Jake Kyler. Searcy also directed the movie. Searcy's film career took off after he played the abusive husband in "Fried Green Tomatoes" in 1991. He's appeared in scores of movies, including "The Fugitive," "Nell," "Head of State," and "Runaway Jury," and had featured character roles in many TV series, including most recently "Justified," as chief deputy Art Mullen.

"Paradise Falls" won a "Best Dramatic Feature" award at the Charleston, S.C., 1997 WorldFest as an outstanding independent feature film. The Durham-based string band, the Red Clay Ramblers, provided the original musical score for the film.

The "Paradise Falls" screening is sponsored by the Watauga County Democratic Party as part of its free public series on movies made on location in western North Carolina.

"The photography in this film is pretty special," said film presenter J.W. Williamson, "and shows off our western mountains to great advantage."

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