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Sedalia artist's work gets a showing in 'Twilight' film

Monday, December 21, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

SEDALIA — Sedalia artist Doug Freed thought he could catch a late movie on a weeknight without encountering much of a crowd, but when that movie is "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," the traditional wisdom doesn't apply.

"I went to a 10 o'clock movie on a Tuesday night, and after the movie all these young girls from ages 10 to 18 were spilling out of the theater," Freed said. "I thought, 'Jeez, they've got class tomorrow.' "

Freed, 64, isn't the target audience for "New Moon," which has made $255 million since its Nov. 20 release. But he is the only Sedalian to contribute to the movie's creation. His painting, "Immerse," is on the wall of the Cullen family house in the movie. It is on screen for about 5 to 10 seconds, Freed said.

Freed, a full-time artist who formerly taught at State Fair Community College and served as director of the Daum Gallery, didn't like the movie – his review: "It's boring as all get-out." But he is proud to have his work featured in it.

"It's really quite spectacular," Freed said of "New Moon's" artistic design. "It's in this pine forest."

Freed didn't create "Immerse," a 5-foot-by-6-foot canvas oil painting, specifically for the film. Rather, the prop shoppers for "New Moon" saw the piece at the Micaela Gallery in San Francisco, one of several galleries around the country that sell Freed's work, and leased it for the movie. Footage in the Cullen living room was shot in about six weeks this summer in British Columbia, Canada.

Freed hadn't seen the first film, 2008's "Twilight," and he hadn't read Stephenie Meyer's novels. But his dealer, Micaela Van Zwoll of the Micaela Gallery in San Francisco, called and told him, "This is a big deal."

So it was an easy decision to lease the painting. In fact, "Immerse" now has value both as a painting and as a collector's item.

"They saw my work and liked my work and we submitted eight or nine pieces, and they finally selected one," Freed said. "It happens to be that painting is from a trip I took down the Yangtze River (in China), so it's those three gorges with the big cliffs on either side. I think they wanted something for that film that's kind of quiet and neutral. ... They wanted that mood and atmosphere. It's misty."

"Immerse" also might appear in the next two movies, because the "New Moon" shoot gathered Cullen household footage for those films. "Eclipse" is scheduled for a June 30 release and "Breaking Dawn" will wrap up the saga after that.

The painting's appearance in "New Moon" footage ''is so fast, so I'm hoping it'll get more exposure in the next two movies," Freed said. "Hopefully there will be more scenes in that house."

Freed liked the film's Canadian forests. Coincidentally, he recently took photos of woods near SFCC in preparation for upcoming paintings.

"What I'm doing now is real close-ups, right in the forest," said Freed, who is known for spreading his paintings over two pieces of canvas, one a lighter scene and one a darker scene, to create the illusion of time passing.

"My work for years has been the imagery from a great distance," he said. "Now I'm interested in the down-in-the-forest experience, with the light coming down through it."

Most of his sales through the years have been to large corporations. But he's proud to add this blockbuster to his resume, even if he was bored by all the teen angst.

"It's kind of fun just to be in the movie," Freed said. "I've had a lot happen to me over the years, but I'd never been in a movie."


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