Derby City? Try Derbywood.

Have you ever thought to yourself whilst watching comedy classics like ‘Caddyshack’ or ‘Dodgeball’, “Man, if only this film was about tennis!” and furthermore, “Gee, if only it was shot in my backyard!” Well, today everyone’s a winner. It’s both.

Louisville film dynamo Gill Holland and crew are currently finding themselves hard at work on ‘Tan Lines’, a quirky indie comedy about a ragtag group of tennis misfits that come to challenge the city’s most prestigious country club, and yes, it’s both set and currently filming in the Derby City. From a script by James Markert and under the direction of Tim Kirkman, whom Holland has previously worked with on 2005’s ‘Loggerheads’, ‘Tan Lines’ positions itself as an offbeat underdog story set amongst the most unlikely of competitive landscapes, recreational tennis.

Way back in February of this year, ‘Tan Line’s existence was limited to a script and some very good intentions, but little more than four months later the endeavor has taken full form with a monthlong breakneck speed filming campaign that started last week and will take the production to multiple locales across the city, including the Louisville Boat Club, the Jewish Community Center, Whitehall Mansion, the Oriental House and possibly the Bluegrass Brewing Company. The script was written for Louisville, set in Louisville, and through just a bit of magic producer Gill Holland has managed to pull together the funding (just under a half million all told) to film it right here at home as well.

'Cougar Town's Josh Hopkins stars as a washed up tennis pro

When Owen Match, played by Josh Hopkins, is fired from his job as a tennis pro at an elite Louisville country club (headquartered at Whitehall mansion for the purposes of the film), he finds himself in charge at the overlooked and underfunded Derby City Recreation Center (Filmed at an intentionally overgrown Jewish Community Center). He’s joined by ‘Weed’s Guillermo Diaz, ‘Shamless’s Cameron Monaghan and ‘The Big Bang Theory’s Kevin Sussman, amongst others, for an unlikely adventure with a little bit of heart and plenty of hijinks, as Derby City Rec takes on the silver-spoon-fed country-clubbers in the most epic of tennis tournaments imaginable.

Louisville might seem an unlikely place to film a feature-length project, but as Associate Producer Laura Morton says of her industry, “we don’t have to live in LA to work anymore.” While the production received no tax incentives from the local government (the minimum budget for eligibility is a five hundred thousand), what ‘Tan Lines’ has received is an enormous outpouring of support from both locals and local businesses, and an opportunity to give back to the community in return. Indeed, Louisvillians in the know will even find an easter egg of sorts in the final product in the form of the president of the Louisville Boat Club appearing as the umpire in the film’s climactic sequences.

Principal photography on ‘Tan Lines’ will wrap at the end of the month (June 20) with a prospective release planned for fall 2012. Distribution will hopefully work itself out upon the film’s debut amidst the spring 2012 festival circuit, in which Morton hopes its wide accessibility and oddball indie appeal will combine to please both popcorn and Sundance Film Festival crowds alike. Regardless, this homegrown effort has undoubtedly spread the film bug to Louisville, and here’s hoping it’s one that sticks around.