McKinney Needs a Filmography

The Courier Gazette knows how to get me where I live (pun fully intended).  In their article posted on March 2nd, they announced that a couple of downtown McKinney businesses, The Book Gallery and Churchill’s British Pub,  will be featured in the film “The Language of a Broken Heart”.  (click here for the article). Kudos to Mr. Snyder for a great article!

That got me to thinking that I know that there have been a lot of film-makers who have realized McKinney’s unique qualifications as the quintessential small town setting.  We need a Filmography! 

So here are the films that I know of … please leave comments and tell me the one’s I don’t!

2010 – The Language of a Broken Heart, used The Book Gallery and Churchill’s British Pub

1999 – Boys Don’t Cry, used the McKinney Grain Company and the grain elevator as a backdrop.  Hilary Swank an oscar for her role in this film.

1990 – A Killing in a Small Town, used the historic courthouse. (update to list 3/3/10)

1988 – Dakota, filmed in the spring of 1987, used the town square.

1974  – Benji, used The Dowell House Bed & Breakfast

??? – Walker, Texas Ranger – various episodes used different backdrops.  I can find “documentation” (a google) that they used the grain elevator but I think that they once used the North Texas History Center building as well.  I swear I remember being told that the side door was used as a Sheriff’s office door?  Can anyone confirm this? (Update: Also heard from MPAC that they used MPAC as well.)

??? – Prison Break – used MPAC (updated 3/3/10)

One of Governor Perry’s initiatives that I thought was really good was to promote Texas for the Silver Screen.  The Texas Film Commission is the official State website that promotes specially certified cities.  McKinney is not listed on this site but I had an informative e-mail conversation with our Convention & Visitor Bureau who assured me that there are several different community listings and McKinney is part of a larger area that is properly listed so that we can be found by the right people. The subject is more complex than first meets the eye.  (I wish I had saved the e-mails because she had such a really good answer and I am not doing her justice).

I think, though, that we may have a bit of the “Arlington dilemma”.  Dallas draws people in, for sure, but we are not the same as Dallas.  I am sure that I could find more films but they are probably listing Dallas as the setting instead of McKinney.  Arlington has had this problem for years and has finally started putting its foot down and demanding the proper credit.  At some point in time, McKinney will have to do the same.

I found a list on the Dallas Film Commission’s web site of movies shot in “the DFW area”.  I know some, like “JFK”, probably were really shot in Dallas.  Others, like “Bonnie and Clyde”, were probably shot in McKinney,  in part or in whole.  If you know, one way or the other, please leave a comment or e-mail me.

Update (9/15/10): I have compiled the comments received so far into a separate page called “Filmography” and included links to where you can get a copy of the film if possible. See the available pages at the top of this page (just under the header image).


8 Responses to “McKinney Needs a Filmography”

  1. Wilfredo Fuerte

    Great article! I’ve always wanted to ask a blog writer this: what do you use to keep your braindstorms and outlines organized? I’ve tested different programs and even notebooks and I still haven’t found a solid solution. I would love to hear what you use to stay organized! Thanks!

  2. Diann

    Give us a call at the McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureau. We would love to visit with you further about the film industry in McKinney.

  3. Amy Rosenthal

    McKinney is definitely a destination for film and TV shoots!

    I hope that you’ll join us for a free screening of a short film that shot a few scenes here at MPAC. It called “Balaam Gimble’s Gumption,” and it’s based on the award-winning book by Mike Nichols. The screening is at 7pm on Thursday, March 25, and the director and producer will conduct a little Q&A after the movie.

    In fact the Historic Courthouse has been used for lots of projects. It’s my understanding that “Killing in a Small Town” used the Courtroom, and “Walker” shot here regularly too. Fox’s “Prison Break” filmed in downtown and at the Courthouse.

    Actually, McKinney is a pretty popular place for shooting – we get visits from the reps at Dallas Film Commission quite frequently. Janis Burkland, the commission’s director, is a huge McKinney advocate! Before her job at the commission, she worked with several production companies that shot in McKinney regularly.

    But, like everything else, this difficult economy is making it pretty tough to get film and video projects going.

    While Texas’ efforts to increase incentives for filmmakers has been admirable….it is still doesn’t compare to the benefits production companies receive in our neighboring states like Louisiana and New Mexico. I have lots of friends in the industry on both sides of the camera….and sadly, many of them are really experiencing some lean times.

    Hopefully, as things perk-up, we will see more projects shot in our community.

    • Beth

      That screening sounds great and I’ll plan to be there! Also, I seem to remember something from the tour I took of MPAC back before it was renovated. The Collin County Historical Society (?) put on the tour … this must have been 2001? 2002? They said that the courthouse was reopened briefly just after closing so that something connected to the Lake Waco murders could happen … a film based on the true crime novel Careless Whispers by Carlton Stowers? Does that ring a bell? Maybe it was the actual trial but that seems like it would have been a strange thing to do.

  4. debianne,%20Texas,%20USA

    This site lists 17 movies filmed in McKinney.
    Most Popular Titles With Location Matching “McKinney Texas USA” 17 titles.

    1. Prison Break (2005 TV Series)
    2. The Final (2010)
    3. Benji (1974)
    4. The Prodigy (2005)
    5. Murder in the Heartland (1993 TV Movie)
    6. A Killing in a Small Town (1990 TV Movie)
    7. An American Story (1992 TV Movie)
    8. A Promise to Carolyn (1996 TV Movie)
    9. Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack (1998 TV Movie)
    10. When the Time Comes (1987 TV Movie)
    11. Monsterland (2008)
    12. Honest Abe (2007 Short Film)
    13. Unglued (2008 Short Film)
    14. Hey Dillon (2009 Documentary)
    15. The Intruder (2008 Short Film)
    16. The Poet & Pepper (2009 Video)
    17. Almost (2002)

    • Beth

      Thanks! I had no idea there were so many short films filmed here. I’ll have to look them up and see if I can recognize any of the backgrounds. (and enjoy the films too, of course)


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