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Volume 26, Number 2 — February 2019

Local Musician Stars in Romantic Comedy

Former local resident Aaron Barr, above, is Eric Campbell in
Former local resident Aaron Barr, above, is Eric Campbell in "Mow Crew," a film which will be screened Sept. 7-11, 2009, in Abingdon. (Photo courtesy Taylor Toole)

Independent Film Shown at Abingdon Cinemall


*** Published: September 6, 2009 in the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier. ***

ABINGDON, VA — Welcome home, Aaron Barr.

The Bristol, Tenn.-born actor returns to the Mountain Empire on with his film "Mow Crew" and the film's director Taylor Toole in tow.

Scheduled for screening at Abingdon Cinemall in Abingdon, Va., "Mow Crew" stars Barr as Eric Campbell, a landscaper by day and musician by night on Martha's Vineyard, Mass. The film marks the acting debut of Barr, who grew up in Mill Creek, Va., which is located between Damascus and Chilhowie.

"It was an amazing, fantastic experience," Barr said by phone on Thursday while walking along 5th Avenue in Manhattan, N.Y. "Being a part of the movie, writing songs and learning the script, was a great thing and a new thing for me."

Made for $215,000, the independently produced "Mow Crew" was filmed in 18 days during May and June 2008 on Martha's Vineyard. Barr, Toole said, was one of about 100 actors to audition for the lead role.

"He's awesome," Toole said on Thursday by phone from his home in Queens, Astoria, N.Y. "His acting wasn't very good at first. Then, he played his songs. He was totally at ease."

So Toole kept bringing the Holston High School graduate back to test for the role. "His acting kept getting exponentially better," Toole said. "He knocked it out of the park."

The relationship comedy follows a day of destiny in the lives of Eric Campbell and his girlfriend Sage, played by Saara Untracht-Oakner. He's a Martha Vineyard native and works as a landscaper who mows the yards of the privileged on the island.

Music opens a door to Los Angeles for them, and so they face a decision, to leave home or not to leave home.

"The whole movie is the last day before they leave the island," Toole said. "I was born there and grew up there. The main conflict of the movie is, "Am I going to leave my hometown or stay where I'm comfortable?' My parents still live there."

But Toole left in search of a career in movies.

Barr can relate.

He left his home in Mill Creek, Va., first for college at Virginia Tech. Then he moved to Richmond, Washington, D.C. and then onward to New York in search of his place in the music world with his indie rock band Vanguard. His parents, Ron and Deborah Barr, still live in the house in which he grew up.
"We just toured Serbia and Croatia," Barr said of his band Vanguard. "We shot a music video on an island off the coast of Croatia. MTV has it and will be playing it. We have a tour of the Midwest upcoming, and we're going to London in October."

But first, Barr and Toole have a movie to promote.

"Aaron and I will get up after the movie and answer some questions," Toole said. "We love talking about the movie and have had a lot of fun doing that."

Excited only begins to describe Barr's thoughts on bringing his movie home to Southwest Virginia.
"I hope people think it's cool that I'm up here and doing something good," Barr said. "I can't wait to see my mom and pops and for them to see the film."

No doubt, the Barr family is thrilled.

"They've been telling everybody about it," Barr said of his parents. "Oh, they're ecstatic."

What: "Mow Crew"
When: Sept. 7-11, noon
Where: Abingdon Cinemall, 721 E. Main St., Abingdon, Va.
Admission: $5
Info: (276) 623-2121

Directed and written by: Taylor Toole
Aaron Barr as Eric Campbell
Saara Untracht-Oakner as Sage
Mike Keller as Chip
Cleo Berry as Doboy

Rating: Not rated (strong language/brief nudity)
Running time: 95 minutes/color

A! ExtraTopics: Film