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“Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters"
by Audrey Hanes, photography by Brittney Guest

When “Ghostbusters” debuted in 1984, the film’s talented cast and comedic take on the supernatural made it an instant hit and a favorite for generations to come. Thirty-five years later, Jonesboro’s Derek Osborn and a team of fellow lifelong “Ghostbusters” fans have created “Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters,” a documentary film dedicated to the making and production of the original classic.

It all started 10 years ago, when UK-based brother and sister team Anthony and Claire Bueno set off to create an account of how “Ghostbusters” came to be. The crew interviewed more than 30 members of the cast and crew for the documentary, including actors Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver; director Ivan Reitman; producers Joe Medjuck and Michael C. Gross; and visual effects crew members Richard Edlund and John Bruno.

“‘Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters’ focuses on the development and production of the original film, from Dan Aykroyd’s family history in paranormal research to the ‘Ghostbusters’ world premiere in June 1984, and everything in between,” said Osborn, who worked on many aspects of the film.

“The documentary is a deep dive, nuts and bolts look at nearly every creative and technical facet of the filmmaking process – writing, casting, acting, improvisation, directing, production design, set building, creature design, visual effects, editing, music, etc. It’s not only a love letter to the 1984 film, but a detailed look at classic filmmaking.”

Osborn has always been a huge fan of “Ghostbusters” and its sequel; he says that some of his earliest memories are standing in front of his parents’ TV, being transfixed by the film.

“I was born in 1982, so I was the prime age to enjoy the cartoons, toys and video games during the franchise peak in the late ‘80s,” said Osborn. “As I got older, I would occasionally (sometimes obsessively) revisit the film. The layers of cinema genius would peel back as I grew older – the juvenile SNL humor, the smarter underlying satire, special effects, visual effects, filmmaking techniques, production design, the list goes on and on.”

He thanks his interest in and research of “Ghostbusters” for kickstarting his love of cinema, which later helped influence his career in video production with Workhorse Creative Productions in Jonesboro.

“I always kept my finger on the pulse of what was going on with the franchise – rumors of a third film, new comics, new video games, etc.,” said Osborn.

“The documentary was announced around 2008. I was working at a local advertising agency producing video content at the time, so I reached out immediately to the London-based brother/sister production team behind the project, Anthony and Claire Bueno. Although they had post-production plans in place, I acted as their state-side source for scanning imagery, capturing VHS footage from crew members, etc.

“By 2016, the post-production plans had shifted, and there was a need for an editor and motion graphics artist to take the reins. The London duo was initially hesitant due to the distance, but I joined the team in summer 2016. We communicated through Skype and Facebook, usually meeting every week or two. A few years later, we had a completed documentary.”

Osborn says of his multi-faceted role in the documentary – he served as a producer, historian, editor, motion graphics artist and animator – his personal favorite was archivist. He also worked with local Jonesboro artist James Shepherd to animate scenes in the style of the classic cartoon, “The Real Ghostbusters.”

“In the mid-80s, the film industry wasn’t really concerned with its history,” he said. “There weren’t huge archive departments cataloging material like there are now. In fact, most things were simply thrown in dumpsters. By the late ‘90s, ‘Ghostbusters’ crew members had discovered eBay. Like many people, they began cleaning out attics and garages, selling off dusty old boxes of concept art, scripts, storyboards, photos and props. Over the years, I slowly collected material from the production of "Ghostbusters" that interested me – things that might normally be seen in making-of books or documentaries. This material proved invaluable in telling the story.”

Last month, the team behind “Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters” was invited by Sony/Columbia Pictures to present the documentary at the 35th anniversary Ghostbusters Fan Fest, a gathering of fans, cast and crew on the historic Sony Studios lot in Culver City, Ca.

“Wizard of Oz was shot on this lot, so it was really cool to be around so much history,” said Osborn. “The trip to LA also allowed the entire documentary crew to meet in person for the first time. We also wined and dined with cast and crew from the original film. The little boy dancing to the theme in front of his parents' TV would have been proud.”

Although plans are still in motion, the team is hoping to be on major streaming platforms within the next year. Osborn said he is hoping to have some sort of local screening, as well. In the meantime, the team is already busy working on “Too Hot To Handle: Remembering Ghostbusters II.”

For more information about “Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters,” visit buenoproductions.com or email info@buenoproductions.com.