The following are top stories from arts and entertainment in Douglas County:

Behind the scenes with ‘Death with Dignity’Locally owned film production studio gives a behind the scenes look at its second feature film, “Death with Dignity.” The action film, a first for the studio, was written by studio owner and film director Jake Tranter and filmed at various locations throughout Douglas County. Hollywood actress Eileen Dietz, best known as the face of the demon in “The Exorcist,” joined the otherwise locally sourced cast. One particular scene involved closing an intersection near Hucrest Elementary School in Roseburg.

“Death with Dignity” is a psychological thriller which follows main character Tyler, who is bored with his life and hires a hitman as a way to test his survival skills. The film premiered at Roseburg Cinema Dec. 30, 31 and Jan. 1, with the possibility of future showtimes.

Elkton and Fort Umpqua used in ‘First Cow’“First Cow,” a historical drama set in the Oregon territory in the 1820s, was not only named the best movie of 2020 by Time Magazine, but was filmed in part at Elkton’s Fort Umpqua.

Production crews scouted several fort replicas across the state, but said Fort Umpqua stood out amongst all those choices. “A fair amount of the script takes place around a fort and its fur trading post. Fort Umpqua (and) the great people that worked there made Elkton our obvious choice,” Production Designer Anthony Gasparro said.

Several elements had to be removed or changed — including 30 truckloads of dirt brought in “to illustrate how the fort would have been recently built” — to make the fort more historically accurate. Some of those props used during filming were left behind for use at future fort events.

“It was a pleasure working with such kind folks. Everyone we came into contact with was helpful, friendly and welcoming. We were down there for about 5 days and loved every second,” Location Manager Janet Weiss said.

Umpqua Valley Arts Association celebrates 50

The Umpqua Valley Arts Association marked 50 years of supporting arts culture in Douglas County in July.

Housed in the Umpqua Valley Arts Center since 1973, the association is perhaps most well-known for the Summer Arts Festival — which actually began two years before the association was formed. But the association is deeply rooted in the community, hosting a variety of events and supporting continued arts education in schools throughout the county.

“This organization means the world to me and is absolutely crucial to the vibrancy of our community,” said Nancy Lehrbach, who has been an association member and volunteer since 1972. “I remain involved because I believe arts and culture have the ability to transform lives and communities. This organization provided essential opportunities and experiences for my children and grandchildren, and I will do everything in my power to make sure it remains thriving and serving youth in our community for many generations to come.”

Music on the Half Shell celebrates 30 yearsMusic on the Half Shell celebrated 30 years of free community music this year. It began in 1992 from the desire to bring people from throughout the community together to enjoy free music.

“The reason Half Shell started, the reason Half Shell continued and the reason Half Shell still exists has to do with that synergy between people with a vision and people with drive and people who wanted a better community, regardless of anything,” committee member Kelly Leonard said. “People were willing to forgo a lot of biases and prejudices about a variety of things over the years to make this happen. It is a great example of what civic cooperation can do.”

The concert series, held at the Nichols Band Shell at Roseburg’s Stewart Park since it began, has hosted musicians of all ages and genres. The traditionally eight-week lineup is usually announced in the beginning of summer.

Local playwright adapts script to young adult novel

Riddle High School Drama Adviser and Umpqua Actors Community Theatre president Martin Follose has written a lot of scripts in his career. In fact, 17 of his plays have been professionally published. This year, Follose expanded his writing repertoire with the publication of “SNAPPED!”

The young adult novel was adapted from both a play and film script some Riddle alumni might find familiar. Follose first brought the story to life in 2004 as a film. He reworked it into a stage play that was performed in 2019. The book, however, had additions that Follose never thought to add until he spoke to an editor.

“It was really fun to do and really easy, once I started filling in the holes, to take a script that I had written and just write it into a book,” Follose said.

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at

or 541-957-4218.

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Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at or 541-957-4218.

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