Film production on North Coast on Hiatus due to rise in COVID-19 cases


ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM)-The North Coast has been open for filming since late June – but with the rise in COVID-19 cases, the Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commissioner made the decision to shut it down – all in the name of safety.

Film Commissioner Cassandra Hesseltine Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commission says the safety of local residents trumps profit.

“When I saw the numbers changing dramatically in the past month and the impact it was having on our community it just became more and more obvious that it was no longer safe,” she said

The reason Hesseltine made the decision to pause filming in the Redwood Region – effective immediately.

“It was fine when we had zero [or] one [or] two cases, we had protocols and safety plans in place but with the numbers that – the way they are it’s just not appropriate any longer,” she said.

Hesseltine says, the seven completed projects – ranging from a television show and car commercials – to a feature film- brought in $2.3M of direct spending – most coming from the movie.

To break it down – during the seven-week filming, the production spent:

Local Lodging Costs: $750k (including Airbnbs & hotels)

Local Food Spend: $23k (not including catering costs because vendor was from out of state)

Local Vendor Spend: $425k

Local Crew Labor: $190k

Local Background Labor: $120k (527 locals hired)

Total Location Fees Spend: $230k (including $22,620 with NHUHSD, and $5500 with the Eureka City School District)

In addition to the spending, the production also donated to local entities list below:

Arcata High School performing arts dept

McKinleyville HS performing arts dept

Eureka Main St

C.A.P.E (Community Access Project for Eureka)

Eureka Police Foundation

Ferndale Chamber of Commerce

Railroad Grade Association – Fieldbrook

Crockett Crossing Road Association – Fieldbrook

Arcata Resident Christine Callahan got a piece of the pie – her home was used as the main film location.

“Who gets to be in a movie or have their house in a movie, you know it’s out of this world for me,” she said. “But we kind of went for it.”

The compensation couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It was a help financially,” she said.  “They went through such length to keep us safe.”  

Callahan says, she and her husband were tested six times in order to be extra’s in the movie.

Hesseltine says, she’ll re-visit her decision in January – but for now – she’s sticking to her commitment – she says, it’s in the best interest of the community.

“When we are in a better place, than we can resume film making at that time,” said Hesseltine.

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