Michigan’s hills are alive with the sounds of moviemaking.
With the help of the Michigan film tax incentive, a project that was more than 10 years in the making came to life Wednesday with the world premiere of the Michigan-produced feature film, The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure, at the Theater in Royal Oak.
The interactive children’s movie, which was filmed in locations throughout Michigan including Stony Creek, a diner in Canton and the Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan, has even deeper roots in the Great Lakes State.
It was written by Lathrup Village native Scott Stabile and funded by Macomb County residents Mike Chirco and Scot Moceri. In addition, nearly 95 percent of the film crew was from Michigan, according to Special Effects and Audio Producer Jim Gilmore, of Grosse Pointe Farms.
Chirco told Patch, he enlisted the help of Kenn Viselman in California to bring the project together.
“I went to California, saw Ken and I said, 'We have an idea for this movie and we need somebody to do it,'” he said.
“It was love at first sight,” added Viselman. “We’ve had a lot of different ideas and took ideas from different programs and fit them together.”
The movie sprang from the PBS children’s show My Bedbugs and the adventures of Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie, as they encourage children to sing and dance along with them as they embark on a journey to find five magical balloons.
“The movie breaks down that fourth wall and gets them (children) involved in singing and dancing again,” said Gilmore.
Although, the movie has Michigan footprints, it did get some help from some big Hollywood names, including Chazz Palminteri, Cloris Leachman, Jamie Pressly, Toni Braxton and Christopher Llyod.
The G-rated film is set to open in more than 3,200 theaters nationwide Aug. 29.
$150,000 Donation Encourages Kids to Sing and Dance Long after Film
Film producers presented Henry Ford Health Systems with a $150,000 check to help fund a new program aimed at combating childhood obesity.
"We’re honored to partner with Henry Ford Health System and are excited about keeping The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure fans physically active in the theater as they share their adventure and continuing that activity afterwards off-screen…” said Viselman.
Jayson LaGrou, 10, of Rochester Hills told Patch he was excited that there's a kids film that gives him an excuse to not sit still in a movie theater.
“I think it’s cool that we finally get to stand up and dance instead of staying seated,” he said.
For more information on the film, visit www.oogieloves.com.