Soda Springs

Caldwell natives Jay Pickett and Gary Hollie premiered their independent film “Soda Springs” to a large and enthusiastic audience at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise Saturday. Pictured (left to right): Gary Hollie, Jay Pickett and co-executive producer Jamer Roush.

©2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

BOISE — There it was, splashed across the brightly lit marquee of the Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise: “Soda Springs ... starring Jay Pickett.”

The two friends from Vallivue Junior High School celebrated a huge homecoming party for Pickett and lifelong friend Gary Hollie Saturday when the independent film came back to the Treasure Valley for its Idaho premiere.

Patrons who filled the Egyptian Theatre gave the two former Caldwell residents a warm embrace and the film two thumbs up.

For Pickett, Hollie and another Vallivue High School alumnus, musician and music producer Steve Fulton, the evening was both surreal and emotional.

“I couldn’t be more happy right now,” Pickett said after Saturday’s premiere of the film he wrote and stars in. “Right now I’m just enjoying the moment. It was incredible to see such support.”

Pickett who boasts an extensive resume as a film and television actor admitted to being nervous about the Idaho premiere.

“At first I was really excited about coming home,” Pickett said. “I couldn’t wait. But then when I got here I started feeling a lot of pressure. I didn’t know how people would react to the movie that we put all this time and effort and passion into. So, I had some anxiety.”

That quickly disappeared amid supportive applause from the more than 600 patrons who attended the premiere.

“Now I feel so relieved and happy, especially because so many people came out and their overall reaction was so positive,” Pickett said. “You could tell people were really engaged in the movie right up to the end.”

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Hollie, who shared executive producer duties with Jamer Roush and Pickett, also makes a cameo appearance in the film as a prison guard.

“Amazingly enough, and I know this might be hard to believe, but I might be a little speechless right now,” Hollie said. “The support is unbelievable. I’m just overwhelmed.

“They laughed when they should have laughed and awed when they should have awed,” Hollie said. “Nice doesn’t seem like a strong enough word to describe how I feel about having all of these longtime friends, family and supporters here tonight. It’s simply incredible … extremely touching. I’m a bit awestruck by the warmth of the Idaho people, but we knew that from the start. It’s why we came to make this film back home.”

Hollie said he and Pickett initiated the Idaho premiere as a way to thank the people who volunteered in the making of “Soda Springs” but acknowledged that it grew beyond their expectations.

“Idaho is a special place and I think, hopefully, the visuals we showed in the movie show that,” Hollie added. “It was Idaho at its finest. What you didn’t see were all the people that helped us. They really stepped up to make this successful. They didn’t get paid. They were doing it because they wanted to help. It may sound like a clique but that’s good people, it really is.”

Fulton, the third Vallivue alumnus was instrumental in the creation of the “Soda Springs” soundtrack in his studio in Garden City.

“Soda Springs” was filmed at various locations in the Gem State including Caldwell, Boise, Sweet, Payette, Emmett, Crouch and Soda Springs.

Pickett stars as troubled Eden Jackson in the drama with Hollywood veterans Michael Bowen, Patty McCormick, Tom Skerritt and Victoria Pratt.

- To find out more about the film go to: sodaspringsthemovie.com.

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