Public Library Board discussed whether it would allow filming for a movie at
WPL at its meeting Thursday.
Lisa Stamm told the Board she received communication July 8 from a
production company that is planning to film at several locations in the
Duneland area later this month for a movie about Road to Life Church pastor
Scott Highberger. The movie will be based on his life and an
autobiographical book he wrote, “Behind the Wire: A Prisoner’s Journey to
Stamm said the
“heavily religious” nature of the film gave her pause, and she wasn’t a fan
of short noticeŃthe company discussed filming as soon as Sunday, July 28.
Nonetheless, Stamm said she wasn’t opposed to trying to collaborate with
them if the Board approved.
reportedly says they can be in and out of WPL in an hour and that the
Library doesn’t have to close for the filming. They just want footage of an
actor studying at the Library for montage scenes.
Vice-president Nick Tilden said, “I think it would behoove us to investigate
a little more about the nature of the film.” Member Kathy Cochran was
adamant that the Board shouldn’t consider the film’s content on free speech
Her concerns were
elsewhere. “Filming can be disruptive. There’s bright lights, there’s
cameras, there’s a truck parked outside,” Cochran said. “It might be
dangerous for small children if they get in the way.”
Drew Rhed said the company didn’t give Stamm or the Board much time to
decide. “It’s not like they started the process last week, but that’s when
they notified you,” Rhed said to Stamm.
Tilden asked if the
company had adequate liability insurance. Stamm said she hadn’t gotten an
answer on that yet. Tilden also asked if the company is working with other
local entities. Stamm said she was told “they’re also working with the
Sheriff’s Department, the school, and the Jail, and everybody is working
Tilden said he
didn’t like “multiple levels of hearsay” in that statement that could just
be designed to make the Board more comfortable. Rhed said he’d like to know
that the company has insurance and that WPL wouldn’t be the only local
agency working with them.
Livovich proposed the Board consider if it would be making an “extraordinary
exception” for one group by allowing the filming. “It’s going to be used for
religious purposes, possibly proselytizing. Will we be conceived as
supporting that as a government entity and need to do that for everybody
that comes along wanting to use the Library in that way?”, Livovich said.
to Livovich that the Board shouldn’t consider content. She cited that fact
that WPL allows religious groups to meet in the Baugher Center, though she
noted the requests aren’t one the same.
Member Abbe Trent
said Stamm should go back to the company and suggest a weekday so there
might be less disruption to patrons if the filming takes place. “They could
just as easily come on a slow Tuesday,” Trent said. “You should feel free to
set some parameters that make you more comfortable.”
Cochran added that
Stamm should be present when the filming takes place, and she should
establish a written agreement with the company so they won’t film patrons,
and they’re committed to being out of the building at a certain time. “They
need to show they will do things in a manageable, safe, and timely way, and
you need to have the final say on when they enter and leave the building,”
The Board members
agreed that if the production company has adequate insurance and works with
Stamm to keep disruption to a minimum, they’ll allow the filming. Stamm said
she would update them as new information comes to her.