New movie starts production in downtown Hamilton

‘Alan and the Rules of the Air’ is a sequel to a movie filmed in the area in 2017.

While the COVID-19 pandemic had derailed a lot of movie work in the area, Film Hamilton said more projects are starting up.

Cincinnati saw scenes of “Shirley,” produced by and starring Regina King filmed in December, and Middletown saw scenes from “A Bachelor’s Valentine,” directed by Middletown native Lana Read.

Butler County native and filmmaker Markus Cook will resume the story of Alan Wholman (portrayed by Brooks Harvey) in the sequel he wrote, “Alan and the Rules of the Air.” His crew filmed parts of the first movie, “Alan and the Fullness of Time,” in Hamilton, and around other parts of Butler County and Greater Cincinnati in 2017.

“Alan and the Rulers of the Air,” which is believed to be the first sequel to a movie filmed in Hamilton, picks up a few months after the events in the first film. after a year in post-production, the first movie was shown at film festivals in 2018 and released in 2019, said Cook, who grew up in Fairfield and West Chester Twp.

ExploreLocal filmmakers begin shooting movie in Hamilton

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The sequel functions as a court drama, but the faith-based movie also has action, thriller, and conspiracy undertones. It advances the story of Alan’s personal life and the expanding world around him, Cook said.

In that first film, the audience followed Alan, a boy sheltered by his mysterious parents and pursued by an ominous government agency. He was forced to grow up fast, and with the help of his parents’ circle of believers, he steps into the dangerous beginning of his journey.

“Alan and the Rulers of the Air” also delve deeper into the other characters from the first movie, said Cook.

“The characters are experiencing a fallout of the government officials coming into their church, and they have an interaction with them that lands them in court,” he said. “Alan’s whole story is about figuring himself out, and where he fits into this destiny he’s been saddled with.”

Though “Alan and the Ruler of the Air” is not a huge budget film, Steve Colwell with Film Hamilton said, “It’s still nice to get the city showcased and seen in films.”

In the past decade, more than a dozen films have had parts of it filmed in Butler County, most of which were in Hamilton. But COVID “had just derailed everything,” Colwell said.

“In this area, we’re just now seeing more projects starting to come,” he said. “There’s some hope that we can promote the area a little bit more outside of Hamilton in the near future to tell people what we have available here.”

Cook said his sequel will shoot for about a week in Hamilton before moving south to Covington, Ky. for about a week. A third week of filming will happen in areas of the Cincinnati region.

Cook is aiming for a release date about in about a year to 18 months after it goes into post-production. It’s not anticipated he’ll show this sequel at festivals like he did with the first move, he wants to reach the audience “we feel needs to see the film and enjoy the film.”

“There’s something for everyone to find themselves in with this story, especially if they ever questioned themselves in their relationship with religion,” Cook said, though he hopes it will appeal to young adult Christians and non-Christians.

He said there are Christian-themed films that aren’t solely based on evangelism but are meant to entertain and thrill an audience. Those are the types of films Cook, a 2013 Cincinnati Christian School graduate, said he wanted to watch growing up, so he’s also making movies “the 13-year-old me would want to watch.”

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