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This still shot shows one of the scenes of “Dust of War,” an independent film shot entirely in South Dakota by South Dakota natives. It will show at the Luxury 5 Cinemas for a week, starting Friday. (Photo courtesy of Luke Schuetzle)

SD-shot ‘Dust of War’ starts showing in Mitchell Friday

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South Dakota may not be in a battle, but that won’t stop the “Dust of War” from coming to Mitchell this week.

The independent film, shot entirely in South Dakota, will make its debut at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Luxury 5 Cinemas in Mitchell.

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It will also show at 7:15 and 9:25 p.m. Friday. It will run nightly, at those times, through Oct. 17. Tickets are priced the same as all other movies at the cinema.

Luke Schuetzle, one of the film’s producers and a South Dakota native, said the film has been the culmination of years of work and dreaming for him and the film’s director, Andrew Kightlinger, and other producer, Adam Emerson.

After growing up together in Pierre, Schuetzle said the three friends each went to college, then regrouped and started working together. First they made short films, but at 90 minutes, “Dust of War” is their first feature-length film. It premiered this summer at Comic Con in San Diego, and at the South Dakota Film Festival in Aberdeen. They even landed Tony Todd, a veteran actor who has appeared in “Candyman,” “Platoon” “The Rock” and several installments of the “Final Destination” franchise, as one of the leads.

“We want to make movies, and that’s what we did,” Schuetzle, 26, said. “It’s just kind of cool to be working with your best friends.”

Centered on a brooding hero and a cynical veteran who join forces to save a young woman fated as the savior of humanity, “Dust of War” is an action/science-fiction/adventure story, with a Midwestern flavor.

“We like to call it ‘Star Wars on the prairie,’ ” Schuetzle said.

Schuetzle said filming locations included areas around Pierre, Wall and the Badlands. Extras in the move are from around the area, including Mitchell, Huron and Sioux Falls. Mitchell Main Street’s Einstein’s materials are also featured, a special bonus for Schuetzle, who lived in Mitchell for two years.

“I love that place,” he said, of Einstein’s. “It’s like my second home.”

According to production materials for the film, South Dakota’s sweeping landscape captured Kightlinger’s vision for the film. It also gave the filmmakers a chance to show off their home state, and to try to rekindle interest in bringing film production to South Dakota.

“We love South Dakota,” Schuetzle said. “We love showcasing it and what we do here. We want more films to be made here.”

Perhaps the most famous movie filmed in South Dakota was Kevin Costner’s critically acclaimed “Dances With Wolves” — in 1990. Other bigstudio productions like “Hidalgo” (2004) and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” (2007) made brief stops in South Dakota. But Schuetzle said he, Emerson and Kightlinger hope to expand on that.

“This is our way to showcase how professional we can be and especially showcase South Dakota and how accessible it is to shoot. ‘Dust of War’ is kind of our first major step in acquiring that,” he said.

“South Dakota, and the Midwest in general, is full of talented people.”

Jeff Logan, owner of Luxury 5 Cinemas, said he was impressed by the production quality of the film, which surpasses that of many independent films.

“It looks polished and professional,” he said.

Schuetzle said he and the other filmmakers worked hard to achieve that professionalism, and have been pleased with the encouraging feedback they’ve received.

At a recent screening in Sioux Falls, which sold out to a crowd of more than 400 people, Schuetzle said he, Emerson and Kightlinger sat behind a group of 15-year-old boys. It was a hit.

“We were just sitting back there grinning from ear to ear,” he said.

He said the film is PG-13, but described it as family friendly.

“You’re not going to see anything worse than what you’d ever see on TV,” he said. “It’s a classic movie that you just don’t see any more. Get ready to see South Dakota in maybe a different way than you thought.”

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