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After two years, Joe Zopp is returning home.

The would-be native of the fictional Pure Water makes his world debut on the screens of Micon Cinemas at 475 Chippewa Mall Drive in the movie creators’ real hometown of Chippewa Falls on Thursday night in an invitation-only premiere.

“We’re just really excited to get it in front of people,” said Nick Holle, who plays Zopp in the movie and was the film’s writer, producer and editor.

Large spotlights outside the theater will give Thursday’s premiere a Hollywood look. What’s billed as a special edition “Joe Zopp” DVD will also be sold at the theater for $15.

The movie, described as a suspense-comedy, that was filmed in 35 consecutive days in 2006 will make its debut for the public in Chippewa Falls on Friday.

The next day, the 110-minute independent film will make its film festival debut Saturday at the Landlocked Film Festival in Iowa City, Iowa.

Holle, 29, said this week the film’s creators found out that “Zopp” will also be playing at the Twin Cities Underground Festival in September.

It will also be featured on an Wisconsin Public Television program called “Director’s Cut,” which will be taped next week and air this fall, Holle said.

The film will play 35 times during its seven day run in Chippewa Falls, said Mike Olson, the owner of Micon Cinemas.

Being part of a world premiere is exciting said Olson, who last participated in one in 1988 when “Field of Dreams” debuted at a movie theater he operated in Dubuque, Iowa, near where that movie was filmed.

It’s been great working with the creators of “Joe Zopp,” Olson said. They promoted the film during the Pure Water Days parade, walking behind the Micon Cinema’s car.

“We’ve been scrambling to keep getting the word out,” said Holle, a 1997 graduate of Chippewa Falls Senior High School.

Holle said the film had a budget of under $10,000.

Getting to finally show the film to the public is a huge relief for everyone who worked hard on the project, Holle said.

The reaction from residents of the Chippewa Falls area has been gratifying, he said. “The town has been nothing but embracing for us,” he said.

Besides Chippewa Falls, the movie was also filmed in Chicago and Toledo, Ohio.

“We edited for a good six to eight months after we shot (it), and then kind of realized we needed to shoot additional footage,” he said.

That meant waiting until the following year so that the weather conditions would match those in 2006, he said.

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That allowed for additional sound editing, which took months to complete.

And of course the filmmakers had to juggle their film duties while doing their full-time jobs.

The result of their hard work will finally be on display where it should be, on a large movie screen in their hometown.

If you go

What:  A locally-filmed movie, “The Illegal Use of Joe Zopp,” makes its world premiere Thursday and opens to the public Friday. The film was shot in and around Chippewa Falls in 2006 and 2007 by former Chippewa Falls residents.

Where: The film will premiere at the Micon Cinemas, 475 Chippewa Mall Drive, Chippewa Falls.

The plot: Joseph Thumbwore Zopp unravels a mystery in his hometown of Pure Water.

When: The movie premieres for an invitation-only audience at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The public can see the film from Friday until Thursday, Aug. 28 the showtimes are: 1 p.m., 3:10 p.m., 5:20 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9:40 p.m.

Admission: Adults, $8. Senior citizens and and children, $5. Admission for seniors Wednesday afternoon is $3.

Also available: DVDs of the film will be sold for $15 a piece at the movie theater and online at beginning Friday.


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