Anoka couple Scott and Diane Peterson spent $70,000 to make a feature-length movie, “The Current,” which was filmed at a summer camp on the Rum River.
Scott Peterson plucked the how-to-write-a-screenplay book out of the Barnes & Noble bargain bin.
He figured he could handle the $1 investment. It sparked a new hobby.
Eight years later, the Oak Grove real estate agent and his wife, Diane, an attorney, have spent $70,000 to turn one of his screenplays into a film. “The Current,” the story of a family touched by violence who move from Chicago to rural Minnesota, debuted this month.
The film has played in a handful of theaters in four states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana and Arizona. “The Current” just had a three-day run at the Champlin Theater.
A theater owner in Montana, supportive of the Petersons’ mission to create a family-friendly film, was one of the first to show it.
“The first day there we beat out Harrison Ford at the box office,” said Scott Peterson of the Montana showing.
The Petersons sifted through new music online and created a soundtrack for “The Current.”
The couple are part of a growing, though still rare, crop of north suburban filmmakers. Technology and high-quality, affordable cameras mean people with a story to tell and a few extra dollars to devote to their vision are making films. For the Petersons, who have formed iiFiLMS production company, it’s about creating a family-friendly film full of drama and depth minus gratuitous violence and sex.
“We do think there is a movement to bring better entertainment into American culture. There is a lot of stuff influencing kids and families in a negative way,” Diane Peterson said.
People are looking for more family-friendly films with uplifting messages, but Hollywood isn’t always delivering, said Scott Peterson, who said the film has a Christian message.
From idea to screen
Sitting in their home overlooking Lake George, the couple recently discussed the film from inception to debut.
Scott Peterson, 51, said he dabbled in screenwriting for the past several years. The couple even took a trip to Hollywood to pitch some ideas, but it never took off. Scott Peterson wrote “The Current” screenplay years back. He toyed with it here and there, allowing his wife to make some edits. For Scott Peterson, the film is partly autobiographical. At age 13, his father gave up his career as an engineer in Chicago and moved the family to Sturgis, S.D., to run an insurance agency.
A meeting with their pastor and an unexpected award pushed Scott Peterson from writer to filmmaker.
“The Current” was named a finalist for the Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays in late 2011.
Not long after that, the couple attended the Rev. Steve Perkins’ annual vision dinner at Northgate Church. Perkins told the congregation: God is calling you to do more than just hard things in your life. He is calling you to do something impossible.
They both thought about the film.