‘Outsourced’: it’s local

The film will show at Lynwood.

Though its title may be “Outsourced” the production of the surprise-hit, Seattle independent film was a very local effort.

The film, which makes its last scheduled opening at the Lynwood Theatre next Friday, tells the fictional story of a Seattle call center worker named Todd who is sent to India to train his own replacement.

The Bainbridge premier will be a homecoming of sorts for several filmmakers who have strong ties to the island.

“Outsourced” editor Brian Berdan and actor Matt Smith both live on Bainbridge.

Berdan, a veteran of both large and small Hollywood productions, cut parts of “Outsourced” at his home on the island. Smith took a break from his recent work as an auctioneer to play the roll of Dave, the materialistic boss who outsources Todd’s department.

The film’s producer, David Skinner, is the descendant of an early island mogul: his great grandfather, also David Skinner, co-owned the Port Blakely Mill from 1903 to 1923. Skinner never met his great-grandfather but he believes his namesake would appreciate the success he has had with “Outsourced”.

“I think he would be proud of what we are doing now,” Skinner said. “We did it in the best entrepreneurial spirit.”

Director and co-writer John Jeffcoat grew up in New York but his parents moved to Bainbridge while he was in college. After finishing school John decided to move west and lived on the island, briefly holding down a job at Silver Screen Video on Winslow Way before moving to Seattle to work in the film industry. His mother, Janice, still lives on Eagle Harbor.

Jeffcoat wasn’t looking to hire artists with island history for “Outsourced,” it just happened that way.

“It was really a bunch of coincidences that so many of us working on the film had connections to Bainbridge,” Jeffcoat said.

A romantic comedy might seem like an odd approach to an issue as controversial as job outsourcing but Jeffcoat believes his light hearted film is far more accessible than a hard-edged documentary would be. Besides, he said, “Outsourced” is as much about Americans appreciating different lifestyles as it is about labor practices.

In the movie, Todd overcomes his cultural collision with India to eventually embrace its traditions. Jeffcoat hopes his film will show audiences the “vibrancy of life” hidden behind India’s stereotyped image of poverty and overpopulation.

Jeffcoat’s low-key tact has worked with audiences so far and “Outsourced” has built surprising buzz for a film so indie that its producers even packaged the DVDs in house.

Since winning a “Golden Space Needle” for favorite film at the Seattle International Film Festival in June, “Outsourced” has earned positive reviews from national outlets. The New York Times called it “a wonderful surprise.”

Though “Outsourced” has shown in cities as large as Los Angeles and New York City, the film’s producers were careful to book smaller Northwest theaters, including San Juan Island and Bainbridge, to keep in touch with local fans.

“Just because it’s a small market, that doesn’t matter to us,” Skinner said. “We want to honor the people who supported this film.”

Berdan, Jeffcoat and Smith plan to attend opening night at the Lynwood where the film first shows at 5:30 p.m. Berdan expects “Outsourced” will be well received on the island.

“It’s really a universally appealing film,” he said. “But plenty of people here have traveled around the world so they may share a lot of the experiences Todd has.”

Smith is looking forward to sharing what sees as one of the best movie roles of his career.

“I seldom get a film that I like, that my mom likes and that my kids love,” Smith said. “It just draws you in.”

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