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Produced and directed by Katie O’Regan, who adapted Portlander’s story, it will be shown August 14 in Iowa and then in Portland.

PHOTO COURTESY : PHYLLIS JA - Filmmaker Katie O'Regan spent some time filming in Portland "good morning miss america" a story by Phyllis Yes.  It will premiere in Iowa and screen August 14 at Cinema 21.Phyllis Yes lived the life that influenced the play Good Morning Miss America, which she proudly wrote and arranged to stage at the CoHo Theater four years ago.

Now it’s getting the full-length feature film treatment, and Yes plans to see its premiere Saturday in Waukon, Iowa, and it’s slated to open August 14 at the Cinema 21 in Portland.

“I’m very curious,” said Yes, a Portland artist and former senior art professor at Lewis & Clark College who wrote the retired piece. She has not seen the final script nor the film which was developed by Katie O’Regan who is also the film’s producer and director.

The story follows Jane, a character loosely based on Yes, who must remotely care for an aging mother and stepfather while at the same time arguing with her sister about the family situation. O’Regan, who also plays the Jane Nelson character, said it was “a beautiful love story about this family just trying to figure it out”.

After the CoHo staging, a chance encounter with O’Regan led to a working relationship between the two women, and O’Regan produced the play in Iowa and then at an Off-Broadway theater through her Sacred Noise Society, Inc. It was produced by helped a grant from the late Gert Boyle.

PHYLLIS YESThen the story took on a different life. Last summer, O’Regan showed the script to Ed Asner, actor from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and More, and he attended a staged reading in Caledonia, Minnesota, and liked the story — it was his last live performance, he said O’Regan.

Asner died in August 2021 at the age of 91. O’Regan continued to work on an adapted screenplay with the intention of making a film about the Sacred Noise Society, and enticed actors Dean Scofield (stepfather), Diana Angelina (mother) and Asner’s daughter Liza Asner (sister).

Filming took place in 11 Midwest locations – Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin – where Yes grew up and where her parents lived, and in Portland, including in Yes’s own art studio. Production began in December 2021 and ended in May. A grant of $25,000 came from the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation, which the late Boyle supported. It’s a low-budget film, O’Regan said.

“It was really quite magical, it’s a wonder this movie is coming out,” said O’Regan. “I met Ed, my friend, and then I lost him. We had to recast this part.

“I really love the movie. Phyllis hasn’t seen it yet, nor have the actors starring in it. It will be really exciting for her to see him for the first time. It’s sold out on Saturday and we’re showing it on Sunday as well” as part of the Star City Film Festival that O’Regan created.

O’Regan said it was an adaptation of the original Yes play. “I wrote the script,” she said. “It’s the same story.” Jane is a Portland professor who painted a Porsche with lace rosettes and drove it across the country (which Yes actually did as a feminist statement in her creative tenure).

O’Regan took control of the story to have it staged in New York, through the staged reading and now onto the big screen.

“It’s Phyllis’ idea and story,” O’Regan said. Visit imdb.com for more information.

Yes, 80, said of O’Regan: “She’s a real go-getter. We always started our conversations with ‘More on!’ completed.”

CREDIT PHOTO: KATIE O'REGAN - Katie O'Regan, who plays Jane, and Liza Asner, who plays the sister in the film, pose for a promotion of "Good morning Miss America."The filmmaker said she has submitted the film to other film festivals and started talking to distributors. “That will find a place,” O’Regan said.

O’Regan said she used the artistic license to make the story “a little bit more about love and about Jane’s acceptance of her life, her journey”. She can relate to Yes and the story as she has been caring for her own aging parents.

Yes said her mother (aged 98) died in 2016 and her stepfather in early 2020. Yes also said she has gotten on much better terms with her sister, Candice Kline, since writing and directing the play.

“She and a group of 14 people flew to New York to see the play. It was wonderful,” Yes said. “During a talkback after the play, Katie took the mic to her and asked for her reaction, and she said it was difficult for her to watch. It really shows a family in crisis. I know my role doesn’t come across as warm and wonderful. The younger sister says to the older sister in the play, ‘You think you have all the answers, but you don’t.’ That’s what she thought in real life.’”

In the meantime, Yes has written another script, and she has a contract with someone else and “I’m going to try to produce it.”

It’s called “A Coke with Two Olives”. It’s set in the 1970s, again with a Portland artist who goes to New York and tries to open a gallery. She responds to a personal ad and meets a doctor, but the relationship goes awry. “She meets these other women in the gallery and gets her sweet revenge,” Yes said. “And she drives a top-class Porsche across the country.”

Tickets for the Portland screening can initially be purchased at http://www.sacrednoisesociety.org.

A little bit about Phyllis Yes

Phyllis Yes moved to Oregon from Austin, Minnesota (Spam’s home) in 1973. She taught at the Universities of Western Oregon and Oregon State. She moved to Portland in 1978 and taught painting and drawing at Lewis & Clark College for 26 years. She also served as Chair of the Arts Department and Dean of Arts and Humanities at Palatine Hill.

As an artist, Yes had about 140 exhibits of personal work.

She previously served in the Peace Corps in Brazil, where she later taught at a university. And then she went through a phase in which she wanted to “feminize” objects with her painting.

She bought a 1967 Porsche 911S, “a very hot car and the guy who gave me the key told me I was the first woman to drive this car. I knew I had the right object.”

On a playing field at Lewis & Clark she painted it with an airbrush and hand decorated lace rosettes and silver based paints. She sent it to a private view in New York and then drove it back as a traveling exhibit “and had a wonderful time.” She called it her “PorShe”. Eventually, she sold the car to a man who entered it at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, and it won an audience award.

“Someone told me to use a sledgehammer to make my (feminist) point of view,” she says. “I thought humor was the way to go.”


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