Undercurrents: 'East Side Story' to shoot in PCB

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 04:57 PM.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Award-winning choreographer, producer and director David Winters met me Tuesday in the lobby of the Shores of Panama resort. He was arranging to use the property as a location for shooting his upcoming movie, “East Side Story,” and he said he had been impressed by the local hospitality.

“It boggles the mind, the kindness of the people,” he said. “It’s a truly honest kindness, not because they want something. I just want to hug somebody like that. It makes you feel good about being here.”

He and Bay County Film Commissioner Julie Gordon have been locking down more than 40 locations in the area for the film, which begins production in January. (They have invited PanamaCity.com to chronicle the progress, so check back in the new year for behind-the-scenes stories.)

>>Link to a promotional video about the project.

>>Visit the Kickstarter page for more information.

Winters acted, danced and sang in the original Broadway production of the classic “West Side Story,” as well as the award-winning film version released in 1961. During an illustrious career, he choreographed four of Elvis Presley’s films, including “Viva Las Vegas”; choreographed “A Star is Born” starring Barbra Streisand; directed “The Monkees” TV show and tour; and choreographed a Diana Ross TV special including a performance by Michael Jackson, whom he counted as a close friend.

In 1998, the London-born Winters founded Equator Films, a U.K. production/distribution company that later purchased the prestigious Handmade Films (founded by George Harrison) and its library of titles including movies such as “Time Bandits” and “Runaway Train.” Handmade Films recently released “Planet 51.”

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