Media Life: “Bill Collector” movie features Auburn, Placer County settings

News10 gets a high-def makeover; More honors for WWII’s 442nd
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The “Made in Auburn” and “Made in Placer County” tag can be proudly placed on “The Bill Collector,” a new independent film that debuted in Grass Valley on Thursday. Shooting on the psychological thriller included interior scenes at the Placer Government Center in North Auburn. Six sets were fashioned in abandoned rooms of the former Army hospital. Downtown Auburn’s Jewelry & Loan and the century-old West House Bar in Roseville also were used for on-location shoots in early 2008. A few familiar faces also pop up on screen, including Auburn private investigator Don Treco, who plays Chief Walter Wright, of the fictional Novah, Calif. police department. Jason Bortz takes the lead role, playing a bill collector who uses his phone like a weapon. The film, produced by Grass Valley resident Bruce Blumen, will now go on the film festival circuit in hopes of landing some awards and, perchance, a wider distribution deal. CLEARER PICTURE News10 is set to go high-def in a big way starting next week. The news telecast will launch a new high-definition set, with weeknight anchors Dale Schornack and Cristina Mendonsa ensconced it a new newsroom setting that the Sacramento station dubs its “information center.” The sharper look is set to air Monday. But there’s more than a new set. Look for a new HD weather center with what News10 is describing as the most dynamic 3-D weather graphics in the market. And the whole thing will be shot with the most current and advanced high-def cameras and technology in the market, said station GM Russell Postell. PLACER PRIDE Placer County’s not forgetting local members of the fighting 442nd Regimental Combat Team. During World War II, the battalion made up mostly of Japanese-Americans, fought with distinction in Europe, becoming one of the most decorated units of the war. In all, about 14,000 soldiers served with the 442nd. More than 100 soldiers in the regiment were from Placer County and three - Al Nitta, Frank Kageta, and Shig Yokote - are slated to attend a dedication ceremony Wednesday of a memorial honoring their service and sacrifices. The first part of the memorial, to be dedicated at 10 a.m. at the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville, includes a 36-foot wide concrete compass and two large granite boulders. The boulders commemorate the regiment’s bravery in the Vosges Mountains of France. One of the granite boulders has an inlaid bronze plaque with a dedication from the Board of Supervisors and the other boulder has a bronze plaque describing the history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. NAMES ON PLAQUE Phase 2 of the project will see the names of every Placer County resident who served in the unit inscribed either in granite or bronze at the memorial. It’s not the first time the 442nd have been honored in the county. “Go For Broke Road,” a little ironic now that the county and state are suffering through the current downturn, was established two years ago. “Go for broke” is the unit’s motto. Also in the second phase, the Japanese-American Citizens League will install a 6-foot-high bronze sculpture by Sierra Nevada artist France Borka that will depict a battle scene involving the 442nd. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at 530-852-0232 or