For me, Villisca's story hit immediately with the sheer force of its potential. It seemed as though its form and being were perfectly bound up:
history's powerful jaws seemed specially made for the task of hiding the truth and did what they were designed to do: clamp shut around the facts.
And everyone else is left to the sad and exhilarating task of making the various fables.
Villisca landed not so much in my heart, but rather in that mysterious spot between the shoulder blades, the one that always itches and seems never to
be within reach of being scratched. But one must try, or go mad.
And so, with the generous and skilled assistance of a great many people, I did the only thing I knew how to do, which was make a movie out of the
strange contortions through which I was moving.
Perhaps all I really wanted was one blessed night where I wasn't up and milling about, looking for something - anything - to put the thing to rest.
"Please God just give me One Good Scratch."
About the filmmakers:
Kimberly BUSBEE (Producer, Co-Writer Story and Screenplay; Cast: Woman of Visions) owns AriesWorks Entertainment where she teaches acting, produces
plays and films and works as a casting director and makeup artist. She also acts on stage and screen, does voice-over work and writes.
In addition to co-writing the feature film, Haunting Villisca, Kimberly co-wrote (with Robin Jons) It’s All Up to You, a musical which successfully
toured across the Midwest. She also team wrote a short film, The Bottle, for Harvest Moon Pictures (which won an award through Showcase Iowa) and
writes sketch material for the comedy troupe, Twisted Tragedy which she directs.
Kimberly co-founded and serves as Festival Director for the international Wild Rose Independent Film Festival, now in its 6th year. She also is on
the Iowa Arts Council and Metro Arts teaching rosters. She taught at Edmund's Academy of Fine Arts, the Des Moines Playhouse, and at The Donna Reed
Festival, where she worked alongside industry pros including Dee Wallace Stone (E.T.), director Michael Rhodes (Star Trek), actress/director Joan Darling
(The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Meryl O’Laughlin, (former Casting Director for The Young and the Restless) and the late Kathleen Freeman (The Blues Brothers
and Broadway’s The Full Monty.)
Most recently, Kimberly wrote, produced and directed the TV Pilot, Opened Doors: Glimpses from the Spirit World.
James SERPENTO (Co-Screenwriter, Director, Editor; Cast: David Salt) has been an actor, director and writer for stage and screen for more than twenty
years, with hundreds of productions of all sizes to his credit.
Haunting Villisca is James' ninth foray into film directing. Other projects include AriesWorks Entertainment's award-winning A Quiet Evening Home,
The Next Table, Frieze and The Yoofo Club, all of which were produced by Kimberly Busbee and for all of which James also provided the screenplays.
Most of his more than 40 original plays have been produced: in New York (Night Class and Of Weddings and Divorces); Los Angeles (On the El Nighttimes);
and in his favorite city of Chicago (Private Passage [both world premiere and revival], A Danse for My Sisterlie, and revival of On the El Nighttimes.)
The Chicago Directors Festival production of James' Pasticcio, directed by Robert Teverbaugh, was cited by Susan Pellowe of Plays International as
"[among] the best I caught
hilarious and sad at once."