Filming near Leesburg

After having four-way heart bypass surgery just over two years ago, Leesburg area resident Howard Davidson decided to build a small town resembling one in the old West. Now he is using the town to host a fundraiser benefiting a faith-based western movie that will partially be filmed at Davidson’s town.

Red Oak Old West Town Frontier Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26. It will include an old West gunfighter shootout, a Civil War camp and demonstration, and if enough reactors show up, a re-enactment of a Civil War battle.

There will also be a western-themed costume contest with prizes for the top three places, live music from a western/Christian group, food for purchase and a live auction of donated items, Davidson said.

Davidson, who is serving as one of the movie’s associate producers, said all proceeds will benefit “Grace,” the movie that will be partially filmed at Red Oak Old West Town, located at 12265 Antioch Rd.

Admission is $10 per person with those 12 years and under will be admitted free. Only cash will be accepted.

Davidson said he got involved in the movie business after he painted a picture of the late James Best, who played Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on “The Dukes of Hazzard”. Before Best passed away in 2015, Davidson said they became friends.

“He was into family-friendly movies and got involved with a lot of short films with the money made from them going to rehab centers and stuff like that,” Davidson said.

Over the last five years, Davidson said he’s been involved with about 70 “movies or shorts.” He said he was the producer for the series “The Dark” about the end of times, and has also been involved with films including “Saving Faith”; “Killer Hornets” that was filmed in Wilmington; and “A Spy Not Like Us” that was filmed in Indiana.

The “Grace” film project stars Nancy Stafford (“First Lady” and “Matlock”), Kathy Garver (“Old Man Jackson” and “Family Affair”), Tony Senzamici (“The Advocate” and “NCIS: New Orleans”), Tanya Christiansen (“I Still Believe” and “First Lady”) and Jim Damron (“Nashville” and “Forrest Gump”), a news release said. It is being produced by Lisa L. Bennett.

“‘Grace’ originated from a story told to Lisa by her beloved grandmother, a missionary, and part of the film’s proceeds will be used to help in the town of War, West Virginia where Lisa’s parents are missionaries. War is a coal mining town of approximately 900 people. It’s located in McDowell County which has the highest suicide rate in the country from drug overdoses,” according to “When the coal mines began shutting down, the lack of jobs took a toll on families. Our goal is to help through furthering education so many can learn a new skill set, if desired, so they don’t have to depend on the coal industry or government to provide for their families.

​”With ‘Grace’ being a film series, we have plans to shoot more than one Grace film. It’s an opportunity for us to produce content to provide hope, encouragement and inspiration to touch people’s hearts, which is very important, especially in this current time.”

​The film is being funded entirely by donations, Davidson said.

“The Covid scenario caused numerous events to be canceled, which in turn slowed down the flow of individual donations,” the news release said. “During the Covid slowdown, efforts were put into additional improvements of the script and budget updates done by Sam Juergens, one of the film’s writers. One of the improvements was the addition of a second western town to the storyline.”

That second town is Davidson’s Red Oak Old West Town. The other is Rocky Branch Old West Town in Georgia.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

This is a scene from a Civil War battle re-enacted in May at the Red Oak Old West Town near Leesburg. is a scene from a Civil War battle re-enacted in May at the Red Oak Old West Town near Leesburg. Courtesy photo
Old West town hosting fundraiser for movie

By Jeff Gilliland