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Animal House 'would not have been made without this community'

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EUGENE, Ore. - A B-movie with a largely unknown director and nearly unknown cast now looms large in history as a seminal college comedy.

The impact of "Animal House" was the subject of an award-winning student documentary, "Animal House of Blues." The documentary chronicles how Eugene influenced the film - and led John Belushi to create the Blues Brothers.

The 60-minute production was born of desperation a few years back by some film students at the University of Oregon.

"We've got 5 weeks to make a film: if we don't, we can't graduate from film school," said Katherine Wilson, the casting director for "Animal House" who advised the students on their film.

The project won the 2012 Eugene International Film Festival award for documentaries.

"For 35 years, I wanted to tell the untold stories about how the Merry Pranksters saved the production from being scrapped at Universal Studios," Wilson said.

Since 2012, the students have updated the film, adding rare audio clips of local blues singer Curtis Salgado singing with Belushi. Salgado's stage persona inspired Belushi and Dan Akroyd's Blues Brothers characters.

Ultimately, the docuementary is a celebration, Wilson said.

"That film would not have been made without this community," she said, "and that's what I've been trying to teach the kids: it's about collaboration."

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