Vaska premieres documentary covering Holy City, Easter pageant

Updated: Aug. 26, 2015 at 10:03 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla._A Lawton man and several volunteers who participate in the Easter pageant at the Holy City are featured in a new documentary that will premiere this Saturday at the Vaska.

It's called "Jesus Town USA" and it shows the efforts the community goes through in putting on the pageant each year. The idea for the documentary came after an independent filmmaker from Los Angeles heard about the Holy City and came to learn more about it.

Cason Troutman and his grandfather have been the caretakers of the Holy City for several years. He said it all started when he got a call out of the blue a few months ago.

"They actually came, camped out a night before they came and talked to us in the mountain. Then the director, Billy Mints, said God spoke to him. Told him to come out here to talk to us. The next day they talked to me and my grandpa and said they were set on doing a film and they did," Troutman explained.

Troutman says the film will show others what the Holy City is all about.

"This documentary shows how a small town community comes together through adversity, through trial. It's a very heartwarming film, kind of quirky and dorky. But it's a feel good and make you go home and smile kind of film," Troutman said.

Troutman says the film has already been shown in other parts of the country, but his biggest excitement is showing it at the place he calls home.

"To be a part of something this historic is amazing, just to know in 60 years when I'm 80 years old I can look back on this and show my grandkids, 'hey your grandpa was a part of something historic in the town he grew up in,'" Troutman said.

Vaska owner Justin Hackney says his love of Lawton's history is what drove him to host the premiere.

"It seemed interesting. I mean, it had a different feel to it, it wasn't just a documentary feel, it was a little quirky, it was definitely different and I kind of like that," Hackney said.

There will be two films shown Saturday. In addition to the documentary, the Hollywood film "The Lawton Story," which is based on the people involved in the Easter pageant will also be shown.

"The Vaska opened in 1948, 'Lawton Story' came out in 1949. What better place than Lawton's first, original theater to be standing? I thought it would be the perfect place for it," Troutman said.

Troutman says although the Holy City has not changed over the years, he still hopes this movie will interest people in coming to see what they are all about. The films will show one time only at the Vaska on Saturday. The doors will open at 5:00 p.m. and the first film begins at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets for the night will cost $3. The money raised will be donated to the Holy City. The documentary will also be available on Showtime and Netflix within the next couple of months.