Dale Peterson briefly visited the Tri-Cities several years back for his nephew’s high school graduation.
He was writing a screenplay at the time, and the landscape captured his imagination.
“I looked around and said, ‘This is where this all takes place.’ I kind of incorporated it into the script,” he said.
The screenplay became Hello, My Name is Frank, an acclaimed film that has its theatrical premiere May 20 — in the Tri-Cities.
The film largely was shot here, and Peterson — who also directed — wanted to honor the community’s contribution with a special premiere event.
Screenings are at 5 and 8 p.m. at Fairchild Cinemas in Pasco. A question and answer session with Peterson and several cast members will follow each screening.
A red carpet event starts at 4 p.m.
Hello, My Name is Frank is a road trip movie with plenty of laughs and heart. It centers on the reclusive Frank, who has Tourette Syndrome and is struggling after his caregiver dies.
I think if you live here and you go see this movie and you don’t see someone you know in the background (it will be unusual).
Dale Peterson, director
The caregiver’s teen daughter sees that Frank is hurting and brings him along on a road trip with two friends. The unlikely foursome bond and grow along the way.
The film has earned rave reviews and accolades, including the award for Best Dramatic Feature at the Manhattan Film Festival.
Hollywood veteran Garrett M. Brown, who’s appeared in everything from Uncle Buck to The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, takes on the role of Frank.
Rising star Rachel DiPillo, who currently appears as Sarah Reese on the NBC hit Chicago Med, plays Laura, the caregiver’s daughter.
Hayley Kiyoko and Mary Kate Wiles play her friends, and Travis Caldwell and Tess Harper also star.
The cast and crew spent about five weeks in the Tri-Cities shooting the film — at locations from Hanford High School to the Schab family’s ranch in the Benton City area.
The core cast came from Los Angeles, but the film used about 100 local extras.
“I think if you live here and you go see this movie and you don’t see someone you know in the background (it will be unusual),” Peterson said.
The cast and crew spent about five weeks in the Tri-Cities shooting the film — at locations from Hanford High School to a ranch in the Benton City area.
One day, the actors were shooting on the road in Benton County. “We pulled over and one of the girls had to use the restroom. Our base was about 20 minutes down the road,” Peterson recalled.
A family watching the filming unfold from their nearby home welcomed them in.
“All of sudden they had about 20 people, with crew, inside their house. They were taking pictures with our actors. They let us all use the bathroom. It was great,” Peterson said.
Brown called Frank “the role of a lifetime” for him.
“The piece has such heart,” he said. “It’s not just Frank’s journey that we’re witnessing. it’s these three girls, too. The depth that’s achieved in an hour and 40 minutes — I thought, ‘Wow, this is covering a lot of territory.’”
Brown has earned honors for his portrayal, including best actor accolades from the Manhattan Film Festival.
While the film is a comedy, Frank’s Tourette Syndrome isn’t the butt of the jokes.
The Tourette Association of America supports the movie, saying, “The film portrays Frank as an authentic, relatable character and helps the audience see the human being behind the Tourette.”
Some proceeds from the Pasco premiere will go to the association.
Brown and Peterson both said Thursday that they’re thrilled to be back in the Tri-Cities to share the film.
Hello, My Name is Frank will show for at least a week at Fairchild in Pasco. It’s also available on demand.
Peterson, Brown, DiPillo and Kiyoko will be on hand for the premiere. Tickets are $20.
For more on the film, go to www.facebook.com/HelloMyNameIsFrank.
IF YOU GO
What: Premiere of the film Hello, My Name is Frank, which was filmed in the Tri-City area.
When: 5 and 8 p.m. May 20, with a red carpet event at 4 p.m. A question and answer with the director and cast members will follow each screening.
Where: Fairchild Cinemas, 5020 Convention Drive, Pasco.
Cost: Tickets are $20, with a portion of proceeds going to the Tourette Association of America.