Northwest Mo. man releases first full-length feature film

Below the Fold tells the story of two reporters investigating a 10-year cold case on the disappearance of a Skidmore girl. The story is fictional, but loosely based on the disappearance of Skidmore's Branson Perry in 2001

Posted: Nov 22, 2021 4:04 PM
Updated: Nov 22, 2021 5:00 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- It took more than eight years, but a northwest Missouri man has finally completed his first full-length feature film.

Writer/director Clayton Scott says his experience of growing up in Worth County played a big part in his creation of "Below the Fold."

The movie follows the story of two Maryville newspaper reporters who are writing a follow-up story to a 10-year cold case where a Skidmore teen vanished from her home and was never seen again.

While Scott says his story is fiction, he admits it is loosely based on the 2001 disappearance of Skidmore teen Branson Perry.

"As a teenager and young kid, seeing that had a real impact on me, just wondering what happened to Branson.  Branson's story was a jumping off inspiration but we're not telling his story. It's a fictionalized version with different kinds of themes that we were wanting to explore, but just telling it in that kind of setting. 

The mystery/thriller film is shot almost entirely in northwest Missouri, with scenes in Maryville, St. Joseph and Skidmore. Scott said the multiple murders and disappearances in the small Nodaway County community lended to the darker tones of the movie.

Lead actor Sarah McGuire, who is from Kansas City, said she was unfamiliar with Skidmore's past. However, she said once she arrived on-set for the first day of shooting, she knew that she was in a different kind of place.

"The second I walked out of the car onto the property in Skidmore, the whole environment lent itself to the film. It was so eerie," McGuire said.

Her co-star Davis DeRock, also from Kansas City agreed. He said shooting in Skidmore reminded him a little bit of the small Kansas town he grew up in.

"It's like How kind of everybody knows your business and it's interesting when we were shooting there, especially in the winter months when it was already grey and cloudy, just being around that town all the eyes that are constantly on you," DeRock said.

Scott challenges those who say he's just opening up old wounds in Skidmore and trying to pass his film off as some kind of true-crime drama. He said he had a lot of cooperation from people in Skidmore in completing his movie.

"That's definitely not the case. We're trying to make a piece of art and tell a drama," he said. "We're not trying to stir controversy or be exploitative in any fashion. We're just trying to tell a good story."

One of the scenes in the movie includes a news broadcast that was filmed in the KQTV news studio and featured former KQ2 staff member Matt Trinton.

The movie had world premiere showings in Maryville last Friday and Saturday night. Because both shows sold out quickly, additional showings were added for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Below the Fold is also available through Amazon Prime and other streaming services.

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It was a pleasant start to the weekend with sunny skies and temperatures reaching the mid 60s. A cold front moving through the area will bring us down into the 30s for lows overnight with gusty winds up to 20 mph. This will keep our highs in the 50s on Sunday under mostly sunny skies with mild winds from the southwest. Temperatures will quickly start to warm up again on Monday with highs in the mid 60s. Rain chances look to stay minimal into next week. Temperatures are forecasted to stay above average for the first day of December on Wednesday.
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