In the feature film, “Oildale”(filmed completely in Bakersfield), two strangers meet one day on the “the streets of Bakersfield,” and to the tune of the Bakersfield sound it’s paved with, human kindness gradually eased those wounds.
“Everyone is going through something,” Jessica Castello, who plays “Carlie” in the film said. “There’s a story behind every happy face, especially whether it’s an 18-year-old young girl, or a Veteran.”
Struggling to make ends meet while taking care of her brother and her “gramps” who is a world war ii veteran, the 18-year-old rents out rooms to three homeless veterans.
“They realize there are other veterans out there, not as old as gramps, who can use help too,” Phil Painter, a Vietnam war veteran who played “Gramps” said. “So they help other veterans, [and] it gives you an idea of how difficult it is after serving your country, coming home and sort of being abandoned, or forgotten. It kind of wakes up that spirit in you, that spirit of patriotism, I hope.”
As Carlie helps them find their way, the Veterans aid her in discovering her voice. They encouraged her to enter a talent contest at the Bakersfield fox Theater that can help her realize her dream and take care of her biological and “found” family.
“It was great to be in this historic theatre, and I'm glad it was preserved on film,” actor and musician Brant Cotton said. “This film does a good job of exploring post traumatic stress. People don’t understand that a lot of times the wounds aren’t always physical, and the film does a good job of exploring that.”
In Oildale, Cotton played Clyde: radio personality and host of the talent contest the film leads up to. He not only has roots in Bakersfield as a native, but has regularly helped with local Veteran-focused non profit, Wounded Heroes Fund.
Sunday night at the Bakersfield Fox Theater, the cast and crew had their “reunion screening” of “Oildale” from the initial screening in 2019. This event was in honor of the film's long awaited DVD release. In the audience were some of Kern County's 50,000 veterans, and 10% of the ticket proceeds going directly to the Wounded Heroes Fund.