Bits 'n' Pieces: Local man filming indie flick

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Vancouver resident Dennis Sparks grew up watching “The Twilight Zone,” and it made a lasting impression. Now Sparks is working on a “‘Twilight Zone-ish’” feature-length fantasy film of his own.

The movie, “Nightbumpers,” is being filmed in Clark County, and features a cast of about a dozen actors from the greater Vancouver-Portland area.

The movie is being produced by Sparks’ independent nonprofit production company, Heartland Theatre Productions, and is about a graphic novelist. This character is working on a graphic novel about creatures of the night, when they come after him to stop him from sharing their secrets.

In addition to writing and producing “Nightbumpers,” Sparks, 65, appears in the film. It’s being directed by Portland’s Kirsten Rayhawk and edited by Vancouver’s Dave Hudkins. It features still images drawn by Vancouver artist Tom Feston.

The entire budget for the film is less than $5,000, said Sparks, who has a background in theater. He hopes “Nightbumpers” will be out by early next year.

Hall of Fame trip started at Vancouver station

Radio stations have changed quite a bit since Bob Ancheta’s days at Vancouver’s KVAN-AM.

Ancheta got his start in 1970 as a disc jockey at the station, which played progressive rock and blues. He worked there until 1974, then moved over to Portland radio station KQIV-FM and then KGON-FM, where he worked for 18 years.

Ancheta has been chosen as one of a handful of 2011 inductees into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, which is in its fifth year.

One of the best parts of his long career spinning discs has been finding unusual music to share with the public, he said.

“In those days you could play anything you wanted — of course those days are long gone,” Ancheta said. “Now everyone’s handed a playlist.”

Well, almost everyone. Ancheta still gets to pick his own music for his Sunday blues show from 7-10 p.m. on KINK-FM in Portland, he said.

During his time in the music business, Ancheta also worked as a stage manager for the Paramount Theater in the 1970s, and as a manager for the band Sequel.

Although most of his time was spent in Portland, Ancheta said he has fond memories of Vancouver.

“Our station was kind of the rebel radio station,” Ancheta said of KVAN-AM. “We took a stance that was not heard of in any other broadcast area. Vancouver was our backyard, that and North Portland. We were only a 1,000-watt station, but we had a great time.”

The induction ceremony will be held on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Newmark Theater at 1111 S.W. Broadway in Portland.

“I’m humbled that I was chosen,” Ancheta said. “I can’t wait for it to happen.”

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Courtney Sherwood 360-735-4561, or email features@columbian.com.<I>