'Oregon Made' exhibit showcases state's film history - KPTV - FOX 12

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'Oregon Made' exhibit showcases state's film history

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Many know the story of the infamous trouble makers from the 1970s comedy "Animal House” and the criminal who pleads insanity in the classic film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Fast forward a few decades and viewers are enjoying modern films like "Wild" starring Reese Witherspoon and hit television series like "Grimm."

The Oregon Governor's Office of Film & Television says these are just a fraction of the 400 projects that have been shot in the state, which is why Oregon Film is putting real props from the films on display at the Portland International Airport.

“When you come into the airport, it's a portal for wherever you're coming into. What we want to say, to tell people who are coming in and going out, that did you know all this stuff was shot here in Oregon and used Oregon as a backdrop and hosted all this creativity,” Executive Director of Oregon Film Tim Williams explained. “That's important for people to know as they come in and visit and fly in and out.”

The "Oregon Made” exhibit brings back memories for former location scout Katherine Wilson, who was the first local professional location scout and casting director for Hollywood films.

“I was going to the University of Oregon and was kidnapped by a camera and started making short films with the Merry Pranksters,” Wilson recalled. “The next thing I know, I'm in Seattle with James Caan for a film called ‘Cinderella Liberty.’”

She had a key role in bringing “Animal House” to the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

“They called me and asked if you had a campus that looked like the East Coast and I lied. I knew we could find them and we did in four hours,” Wilson said. “The animal house that that window came out of was actually a fraternity in 1957 for 'bad boys,' for the animals on campus.”

Wilson noted that the house also had ties to another group with a wild history.

“A founding member of the Merry Pranksters rented that house. Then Ken Kesey rented that house and all these Pranksters started hanging out there,” she said. “So it was an animal house before ‘Animal House’ came to town and it was shot in the same building. Not only that the writer says he was inspired by the Merry Pranksters so he wrote this story.

Now everyone can see artifacts from the movies, pieces of film history that were Oregon Made.“It's pretty amazing,” Wilson said. “At the time we were just wild and crazy filmmakers and to see it celebrated like this all these years later, it's pretty amazing.”

Film Oregon noted there are many projects going on in Portland, including the new drama "Lean on Pete," which is currently shooting. The film stars Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny, and is based on a novel written by Portland-area author Willy Vlautin.

The exhibit will be up on Concourse E for the next six months. To learn more about the entertainment industry in Oregon, visit OregonFilm.org.

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