Movie crew makes rounds in Portales

By Kevin Wilson

A group is working on bringing “Believe in Me” to theaters across the country next year. Kim Huffman hopes the group believes in Portales and its surrounding communities later this month.
Members of Believe Productions spent some time in the Portales area Thursday afternoon, as Huffman showed them around.
“They’re looking at using some of Main Street, they’re looking at the junior high’s old gym, they’re looking at the high school’s home economics room,” said Huffman, the county’s community development director. “They’re basically looking for some stuff that looks like it’s from 1964.”
Huffman said other areas were set for inspection as well, including a cotton farm in Causey, Dora High School’s old gymnasium and some neighborhoods in Elida.
“I’m not pushing anything,” Huffman said. “I’m just asking them, ‘What do you need to see? What holes do you have (in locations)?’”
Huffman said nothing is guaranteed, but he thinks it is a good sign that the crew’s Thursday visit was its fourth such trip to the Portales area.
“We’re planning to do Main Street here,” said Ron Carr, the location manager for “Believe in Me.”
Carr said that the “small-town feel” of the area has appealed to the crew.
“We’re looking for cotton farms, so that’s why we’re visiting the area,” Carr said. “It’s flat, it’s similar to Oklahoma.”
Rorie Hanrahan of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, which oversees the state’s film office, said producers may want a New Mexico city to double as Oklahoma rather than shooting in that state because of incentives offered by New Mexico.
Filmmakers are looking for three sites:
• A medium-size school with an original looking gymnasium built in the early 1950s.
• A large cotton farm with a vintage pre-1960s farm house.
• A house and neighborhood on the edge of town.
“Believe In Me,” is based on the Harold Keith novel “Brief Garland.” The story, set in the 1960s, is about a man who relocates to the Oklahoma Panhandle to take a job as a boys’ high school basketball coach but by fate is assigned to an under-appreciated girls team. The story follows his team’s run to the state championship.