MILL CREEK, OK (KSWO) - A film that tells the tale of a historic member of the Chickasaw tribe will finish production in Oklahoma this Thursday.
It's called "The Chickasaw Rancher" and the crew and cast have spent the last six weeks filming the movie near Mill Creek, Oklahoma, which is about 70 miles east of Duncan.
The film is being produced by the Chickasaw Nation and will follow the life of rancher Montford T. Johnson. Johnson was orphaned at a young age but despite that, was able to build a ranching empire along the Chisholm Trail.
Members of about a dozen tribes have speaking parts in The Chickasaw Rancher, including Durant, Oklahoma native and member of the Choctaw tribe, Rebeckah Boykin, who plays the main character's sister, Adelaide.
"A lot of the people aren't from here and they're like oh, the weather, the chiggers, that's our biggest thing right now, the chiggers," Boykin said. "But it's so wonderful because they get to see something different from Oklahoma. Everybody thinks it's all plains and rolling hills and it is that but it's also much more."
The film will detail Chickasaw Rancher Montford T. Johnson's life and interactions with settlers, cowboys and Indian fighters back in the 1800s. Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said most of those interactions took place in Oklahoma so it only made sense for them to film the movie here.
"Oklahoma is where the story began and where it ended," Anoatubby said. "In fact, we have families that still live in Oklahoma that are descendants of Montford Johnson. So, Oklahoma is a great place because we have a lot of venues that we can film."
Those are very attractive to filmmakers looking for potential movie locations. The Director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office Tava Sofsky said they also attract interest through the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program.
"They get 35 to 37 percent cash back on all of their Oklahoma expenditures," Sofsky said. "So, the expenditures have to qualify, hiring locals, spending locally and all that good stuff."
Sofsky said the rebate will save filmmakers significant amounts of money while also boosting the Oklahoma economy and supplying dozens of local workers with jobs.
"It's not just a creative sector that works in the industry," Sofsky said. "There are teamsters, there are electricians, there are hair stylists, there are caterers, there's makeup artists, camera people. Even though it's a creative industry it attracts lots of Vo-tech jobs."
The film will finish shooting in Oklahoma on Thursday. It's expected to be finished and ready for audiences in 12 to 18 months.