Former resident to shoot film inside Next Page Cafe

Staff reports
GateHouse News Service
September 4, 2009

Weymouth – It will be lights, camera, and action in The Next Page when an independent filmmaker shoots “Minutes to Live, The Hitman,” inside the cafe on Saturday, Sept. 12. The movie theme centers on several groups of people who discover the end of the world is coming while meeting in common settings like a bar or restaurant.

“The film is a bunch of little stories that is occurring (simultaneously) in different parts of the country,” said film producer Billy Jacks, a former Weymouth resident, and Hingham High School special education teacher. “They all find out that the world will end.”

The script does not say how the world ends. “We leave that up to the imagination of the viewer,” Jacks said. The scenes to be filmed inside The Next Page Cafe features a hitman who enters The Next Page to carry out a murder contract on a person and two women who ponder their fate upon learning the end of the world is near.

“The hitman will walk into the bar,” Jacks said. “He confronts the person who says, ‘why are you going to kill me? The world is going to come to an end.’ But the hitman says, ‘a contract is a contract. Business is business.’”

The would-be victim tries to reason with the hired killer to let him live without success while having a drink that is served by Ed Page, owner of The Next Page. “He asked me to be in it,” Page said of his bartender role.

He said it is exciting to have a movie filmed at The Next Page. “We have put in about $400,000 in renovations here,” Page said. “We have gone from being a neighborhood bar to being a café that attracts families.” He said the movie would be an opportunity to advertise The Next Page which was voted the number one blues club in New England by The Blues Audience newsletter.

“I thought it would be nice to make a film back where my roots are,” Jacks said. “It will be a tribute to Ed’s late dad. The elder Page died in 1992.

“I have a lot of good memories there,” Jacks said.

Jacks previously patronized The Next Page when it was called Jimbos Café. It is located on Broad Street in Central Square. Movie production will begin at 8 a.m. and continue throughout the morning until noon on Saturday.

Jacks said most of the people taking part in the filming are professional actors. “We will have a few extras on the set,” he said. Jacks’s interest in movie making developed while he worked as an extra in various films produced in the Boston area.

“I’ve been in 22 films in 19 months,” Jacks said. “I ‘m now getting to write and direct movies. It’s amazing how the movie industry is growing in Boston.”

He said Boston is especially appealing for movie-makers because of the city’s culture. This aspect is encouraging International Studios Group, a California firm to break ground for 12 motion picture studios at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station by the end of 2009.

The soundstages will be built on 212,000 square feet of land at the base. International Studios Group plans to construct a restaurant, a specialty store and have studio-lot streets with a colonial flavor that reflects historical sections of Boston at the site.

State Rep. Ronald Mariano, D- Quincy is proposing a 20 percent manufacturing tax credit for movie studios to construct soundstages in Massachusetts. The tax benefit would exempt motion picture firms like ISG from paying $20 million in state taxes over a two-year period and would be a credit against future state taxes. The bill has not come for a vote by the House to date.

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