RF native’s movie comes to the hometown screen
Some people know what they want to do with their lives from an early age. River Falls native Terry Linehan was not one of those people.
He didn’t find his calling until his mid-30s. But the time he spent searching for it after high school has helped him prepare for his career -- in filmmaking.
A member of a well-known River Falls family, Linehan spent several years travelling before finding his passion in filmmaking -- from sailing the Atlantic working on a ship and building a sailing canoe in Papua New Guinea for a year, to hitchhiking around the country.
Now he’s bringing some of that hitchhiking experience to the big screen in a film called “Don’t Know Yet.” It will be shown at the Falls Theatre, 105 S. Main St. at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s much more than exciting, honestly, because I have so many great memories of that theater, and I could probably tell you every movie I saw there, where I sat and who I went with,” Linehan said. “And to have my film shown there after so many years, it’s just a dream come true.”
Falls Theatre owner Michelle Maher is eager to offer this film.
“I think it’s a great way to open a new door,” she said. “To (show) a film by a local guy and I think that maybe down the road, we could do a few more premieres here, and there. And give people more of a unique experience which the Falls Theatre has the ability to offer.”
Linehan grew up in River Falls, and graduated from River Falls High School in 1974.
Kathy Morrow worked with Linehan, and Maher to arrange the showing of “Don’t Know Yet” as a part of the high school class’s 40th reunion celebrations -- which also line up with River Falls Days’ 40th annual celebration.
“It’s the perfect confluence of events, honestly,” Linehan said. “You couldn’t ask for better timing. It’s amazing.”
Morrow has never scheduled a class of ‘74 reunion over River Falls Days before, but with River Falls Days celebrating its 40th anniversary, she said “It was just a feeling I had that we needed to do this.”
The class will march in Friday’s parade, dressed in 70s clothes and blasting 70s music. Afterward, they’ll have social time at Johnnie’s Bar.
There is also a golf outing scheduled for Saturday morning, and a Thursday night glow ball golfing event at Kilkarney Hills Golf course.
Linehan wrote the first words of his first script in 1991. In the late 1990s, he decided he needed to make his own films rather than just writing screenplays.
Linehan wrote, directed and produced “Don’t Know Yet.”
According to the summary on the “Don’t Know Yet” website, www.dontknowyetfilm.com, the movie tells the story of “a heartbroken man” who “lets the hitchhikers he picks up determine his direction and destiny. Everything changes when he meets a free-spirited woman who guides him on a journey of healing and self-discovery while hiding a secret of her own.”
Linehan said the idea for the film came from a line he heard in a movie he saw on TV while flipping channels. One of the characters had a line about a man who picked up hitchhikers and takes them wherever they want to go.
“And I thought, ‘Wow, who would do that? Who would ever pick up hitchhikers and be like a taxi service to hitchhikers?’” Linehan said.
The movie grew from there, but some of the story was inspired by Linehan’s own hitchhiking experience.
“Don’t Know Yet” is the fourth or fifth feature film he’s tried to put together in the last 20-plus years he’s been making screen plays.
Many film crew members were Linehan’s students at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
His daughter Dylan wrote much of the film’s music. His daughter Kelsey did all the still photography for the movie -- for promotional images etc. His wife Karen worked on set.
All four of them, his wife’s father, and two of his nephews also appear in the movie.
Linehan’s late parents also had a part in the film.
“(My mom) and my dad, their estate helped us pay for the film,” Linehan said. “I could’ve got a new car, but I bought a movie instead...I think that’s what they would have wanted me to do.”
For the full story, please see the July 10 print edition of the River Falls Journal.