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Posted May 4, 2012
Riley Smith joins stars with Iowa connections in ‘The Farm’

From a media release 

Riley Smith

 Eastern Iowa native and Hollywood star Riley Smith, who graduated from Alburnett High School in 1997, will play “Travis” in the indie feature film “The Farm,” opposite another notable Iowan turned Hollywood star, Tanna Frederick.

“The Farm” is the first in the Project Cornlight film initiative series founded by Frederick, and will be shot in her hometown area of Mason City, Iowa, this summer. The film is about a single mother who returns to her Iowa childhood home when her grandfather becomes ill, and must deal with her abandoned daughter and her past.

“We are very pleased to have Riley Smith in this ensemble! He is another amazing actor from Iowa who has been successfully working for the past several years in Los Angeles,” says Kimberly Busbee, co- director of Project Cornlight and producer and casting director for “The Farm.” 

“Riley is handsome, sexy, charming and incredibly talented and versatile as an actor — everything a leading man should be. He even sings,” Busbee says. ”He is perfect for this Project Cornlight film.”

Smith was discovered several years ago by a talent agent in his hometown mall, which led to his modeling and acting careers. From there, Smith has added numerous impressive credits in film and television, including among others, Radio, Motocrossed, 24, Drive, Joan of Arcadia, The Playboy Club, Criminal Minds, The Glades, Ghost Whisperer, The Closer, Universal Squadrons,  and most recently, his work as “William” in the feature film Shirin in Love. He also performs with his band, “The Life of Riley.”

Tanna Frederick, executive producer who will play Kathy in “The Farm,” says she is thrilled to be coming back to Iowa to shoot this film and work with this stellar cast. Frederick has made her film and theater acting career in Los Angeles, especially through The Rainbow Film Company’s productions directed by iconic Hollywood director Henry Jaglom.  She is a multiple award winner and is critically acclaimed for her leading roles in several of Jaglom’s feature films; including her breakthrough Hollywood Dreams (2006), Irene in Time (2009), Queen of the Lot (2010) starring opposite Noah Wyle (ER), Just 45 Minutes from Broadway, starring opposite Judd Nelson  and The M Word with Michael Imperioli.  Frederick also is the Founder of the Iowa Independent Film Festival and Project Save Our Surf and is an environmentalist who recently returned to Iowa to accept the prestigious Cinecause Award at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival.

Other Iowa-connected talent in ”The Farm” who work in LA include famous character actor Tom Bower (Diehard 2, Crazy Heart, The Hills Have Eyes, Pollock, The Killer Inside Me), Joel West (former Calvin Klein model and actor in The Smokers, Heroes, CSI: Miami) and rising young star, Riley Behr (Impulse, Nanuq, I Heart Shakey.)

“The Farm,” written by Frederick’s childhood mentor and Iowan Richard Schinnow, will be directed by Los Angeles director/filmmaker Ron Vignone. Vignone’s work as director/writer for his feature, Say I Do, has garnered a large number of awards, including at the 2007 Iowa Independent Film Festival and the 2011 Wild Rose Independent Film Festival. He also directed the documentary, The Back Nine, and worked on Henry Jaglom films including Irene in Time, Queen of the Lot, Just 45 Minutes from Broadway and The M Word, and on the Hollywood films, Spider-Man, Hitch, and Bad Santa among many others.

Frederick’s goals for Project Cornlight include building a legacy. “I know the high quality of talent we have right here in Iowa, and wanted to provide the catalyst to create a series of projects to showcase this talent for years to come,” she says.  “I envision Iowa-connected cast, crew and writers joining forces with industry pros from other markets through Project Cornlight; developing films, theater and more to share with the world.”

Project Cornlight Co-Directors Kimberly and John Busbee, both experienced film professionals, also anchor the crew in Iowa for “The Farm” as producer/casting director and locations manager/production supervisor, respectively. Kimberly, owner of AriesWorks Entertainment and director of the international Wild Rose Independent Film Festival, is well known for the Iowa casting of The Crazies, for cowriting/casting/producing the paranormal thriller, Haunting Villisca, for casting/producing the acclaimed comedy feature, Molly’s Girl and for casting stage productions in Los Angeles. John, her husband, works in film production, creative development and project management, is a theater/film /book reviewer, and owns The Culture Buzz, an international arts and culture radio show/website.  In addition to serving as UPM and locations manager for Molly’s Girl, John served as the Iowa locations manager for The Crazies, and as the locations services provider for a Coca Cola commercial to air during this summer’s Olympics.

For more information on “The Farm,” go to   www.projectcornlight.org or contact Kimberly Busbee at bobbusbee@aol.com

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