'Mayberry Man': How to see the 'Andy Griffith'-inspired movie that was filmed in Indiana – IndyStar

Mayberry Man,” the modern-day feature film inspired by “The Andy Griffith Show,” is all finished and set to roll out on screens large and small across the country. Created by and for fans of the iconic 1960s series, it delves into the 21st century world of Mayberry festivals through the story of how one affects the snobby fictional son of a former “Andy Griffith” actor.
In addition to Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, N.C., a significant amount of filming took place in Central Indiana, which put the movie close to Hoosiers’ hearts. Its family friendly vibe is compounded by the producers’ invitation for fans to be part of the movie’s creation. Crowdfunding efforts yielded more than $200,000 toward the film’s overall budget. Many contributed to a Kickstarter campaign that allowed them to perform in small roles in “Mayberry Man.” Others simply showed up to shoots and became extras. 
‘Mayberry Man’:How movie nods to ‘Andy Griffith Show’ without copying 1960s series
“Mayberry Man” publicly premiered Sept. 5 at the Royal Theater in Danville. Now it’s traveling to Mount Airy and theaters around the country as fans make location requests. The movie also will be at the Heartland International Film Festival in Indianapolis and via streaming service. Here are more details on what it’s about, how you can see it and who stars in it.
Writer and director Stark Howell conceived of the plot when he went to sign autographs at Mayberry festivals in 2018. His father, Hoke Howell, had portrayed PFC Dudley A. “Dud” Wash on two episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show.” He and his brother Cort Howell put together the Kickstarter campaign to help fund what would be called “Mayberry Man.”
Instead of re-creating “The Andy Griffith Show,” the filmmaking team decided to move the story forward. Fictional movie star Chris Stone is caught speeding and sentenced to attend the fictional Mayberry Fest to represent his father, who performed on the show. Once there, Stone is surrounded by tribute artists who play famous characters like deputy Barney Fife and barber Floyd Lawson, a common site at annual Mayberry festivals in real life. A crop of other comedic actors — like Stone’s assistant Shane, driver Doug and dueling documentary filmmakers — try the actor’s thin patience as he struggles to change his attitude and figure out what to do next.
Filming for “Mayberry Man” began over Labor Day weekend in 2020.  
At the Heartland International Film Festival: The film will show online and in person at the Indianapolis-based festival.
Buy tickets at heartlandfilm.org.
In theaters: Producers are booking theaters around the country based on people’s requests. They can ask for the movie to visit a cinema near them by filling out a form at mayberryman.com to help filmmakers identify potential markets.
Upcoming theater showings in and around Central Indiana include:
More dates and theaters will be announced at mayberryman.com.
Buy or rent: Via Amazon Video, with rentals beginning Oct. 1.
On DVD: Purchase it via mayberryman.com Oct. 1. Fans can pre-order it now. 
The movie is set in fictional Mayberry, N.C., where “The Andy Griffith Show” also was based. In reality for “Mayberry Man,” that’s a mixture of a few places, including Danville and Mount Airy, N.C.
The latter is Griffith’s hometown and the inspiration for Mayberry, which are celebrated annually with the Mayberry Days festival. Scenes shot in Mount Airy include the well-known Loaded Goat pub and grill as well as Wally’s Service Station, with its Mayberry courthouse and jail replica.
Thanks to Mayberry Cafe and the annual Mayberry in the Midwest festival, Danville already had established “Andy Griffith” fandom that the movie was able to leverage. It also looked the part with its classic courthouse square and nearby shops. The movie had to delay shooting in 2020 because of the pandemic and canceled May festival, but fans still came out when filming began over Labor Day weekend of last year.
Indianapolis makes appearances with two of its most beautiful historic homes. The exterior of the former governor’s residence in Meridian Kessler became Chris Stone’s Hollywood mansion. The interior scenes took place inside the Parry mansion in Golden Hill. Scenes with a movie studio backlot take place at Conner Prairie in Fishers.
A pivotal plot point happens at the storied Mayberry Trading Post in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, which has Griffith family ties. The title sequence was filmed in Los Angeles.
A group of “Andy Griffith Show” tribute artists, several of whom have performed in Mayberry festivals for years, are characters in the show. The main character movie star Chris Stone is played by Brett Varvel, who lives in Plainfield.
Other roles include:  
Stark Howell is the writer and director. Cort Howell, who lives in Westfield, and Gregory Schell, who’s the son of “Gomer Pyle: USMC” actor Ronnie Schell are on the producing team. Executive producers include Griffith’s daughter Dixie Griffith.
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Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.

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