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Here's your shot for big screen fame

You've heard about the vanity press. Allow me to introduce you to the vanity cinema. The vanity press means you can get your book published - but you have to pay for it. And now comes along a deal where you can land a movie role - but you have to...

You've heard about the vanity press.

Allow me to introduce you to the vanity cinema.

The vanity press means you can get your book published - but you have to pay for it.

And now comes along a deal where you can land a movie role - but you have to pay for it.

Meet Nathan Anderson, a former resident of Plaza, N.D., and a 2002 graduate of Minnesota State-Moorhead. Now living in California, he started a business called NoDak Films with the purpose of making movies about North Dakota.

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Like most movie-producing neophytes, Anderson lacks one key ingredient for his endeavor. That would be money.

But he has a plan.

If you contribute $100 to the movie, you will receive: A) a role as an extra; B) a chance to audition for one of the 55 speaking parts; and C) a listing on the credits as an associate producer.

If you contribute $200, you can bring along a friend who will receive the same perks. Anderson is hoping for 1,889 contributors, picking that number because that's the year North Dakota became a state.

If he lands 1,889 contributors - and the $188,900 they will supply - he can begin production of his first film. Anderson's script is about two childhood friends coming home to Plaza, one from the Twin Cities and one from Fargo. It will be shot in Plaza, one of the state's many shrinking towns.

As far as needing 1,889 extras? Well, there's a graduation scene and Anderson envisions packing them inside the Minot Dome. So, don't plan on getting any close-ups. Still . . .

"I don't think there's anything cooler than seeing yourself in a well-done film that will last forever," Anderson said. "Plus, it's shot in North Dakota and is about North Dakota."

Anderson is selling himself as "an ambassador" of the state through his films. "I not only want to make films in North Dakota, but films that are about North Dakota and its issues," he said. "I'll make films to promote North Dakota that North Dakotans will be proud of."

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You and I weren't his first option for financing the film. He earlier contacted the Bank of North Dakota, which loaned $3.9 million to make "Wooly Boys," a movie about a Badlands sheep rancher and his grandson.

Alas, $1.66 million of that loan was written off a year ago. "They told me they weren't in the movie-financing business anymore," Anderson said.

Anderson said he has more to offer the state than the movie that starred Kris Kristofferson and Peter Fonda. "It was an OK movie, but it didn't capture the essence of North Dakota nor reflect its lifestyle. It just told a story that happened in North Dakota."

So, how do we know that Anderson isn't a version of the Nigerian money transfer scam? Well, he's a Scandinavian, and have you ever known a crooked Scandinavian?

Secondly, his father is a preacher, the Rev. Steve Anderson of three small-town Lutheran churches near Williston, N.D. His mother and other relatives also are scattered across the state. And the money will be held in a North Dakota bank.

"The contract says you will get your money back if the movie is never made," he said. "And I'm a North Dakotan. I have no reason to scam anyone or damage the integrity of my family."

So, Anderson computes that he needs only 0.37 percent of all North Dakotans ages 18 and older to contribute for the film to be made.

What price would you pay for fame?

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Bakken reports on local news and writes a column. Reach him at 780-1125, (800) 477-6572 ext. 125 or rbakken@gfherald.com .

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