Three young men who are budding filmmakers and entrepreneurs are working to bring the success they have enjoyed in two other small Midwestern towns to Hillsboro.
Adam Kimmell of Pittsburgh runs Knight Owl Productions. He said he recently acquired a former county infirmary in Winchester in Randolph County, Ind., and an old Blackford County jail in Hartford City, Ind.
An Associated Press story in January about his efforts to purchase a former rest home in Angola, Ind., described his goals, noting that the facility “would become one more historic location available to television shows, independent and student films, documentaries, magazine and stock photographers, producers of music videos, webisodes and even big-budget, mass distribution movies.”
Kimmell has made contacts with like-minded impresarios in other parts of the country. For his local aspirations, he is partnering with Dave Woolever of Washington Court House and Marcus Haug of Akron. The three are exploring various vacant buildings in Hillsboro that could be used by filmmakers or that could serve as facilities or backdrops for a variety of tourist-related activities.
Kimmell said Thursday he is motivated by a desire to preserve historic landmarks and make use of properties with Georgian or Victorian atmospheres. He said he has associations with cable TV networks such as the SciFi channel, Travel Network and Destination America.
Kimmell said the Randolph County infirmary has become so popular so quickly that it is booked every weekend through 2017 for either film or tourist activities.
In Hillsboro, the three have toured a number of sites with Avery Applegate of the Highland County Historical Society. Applegate said Thursday she has helped them scout a few locations. She said she also made contact with the mayor of Winchester, who assured her he was happy with what Kimmell had done there so far.
“He said they had fulfilled their commitments,” she said.
Kimmell said Winchester is a prime example of what he wants to accomplish here.
“Everyone is winning in Winchester,” he said. “I want everyone to win in Hillsboro.”
Kimmell said his goal is to acquire a property at a reasonable price, do whatever repairs are necessary, and then market it to movie studios, independent producers, tourist organizations and others. He said such efforts bring attention and an economic development boost to communities.
Hillsboro has been a proposed site for various productions in recent years focused on Mayor Drew Hastings. Hastings said Thursday he has no connection with Kimmell and is not involved in his venture. But he said he wished them luck, adding that if they can help restore or make use of an abandoned property, he’s supportive of them.
Kimmell said that if he can find the right property, success will follow.
“I guarantee it,” he said.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.