Local film commissioner explains protocols and benefits when big productions film in our area

Cassandra Hesseltine, the Humboldt Del-Norte Film Commissioner.

The Film Stage–a website and podcast that extensively covers movies– announced on X that Leonardo Dicaprio, Sean Penn and Regina Hall are confirmed to star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s next movie that’s filming here under the name “BC PROJECT.”  While it’s exciting to have these stars in our area, the local film commissioner reminds us to respect their privacy, safety and creativity. 

“It’s so exciting when productions come up here if you’re into that kind of thing. Some people don’t care, right? But the ones that do care, they get excited about movies and celebrities coming up and wanting to know more,” said Cassandra Hesseltine, the Humboldt Del-Norte Film Commissioner. “It can be hard sometimes to understand, again, why it feels like secrecy.—When someone’s writing a book, you know, that’s their intellectual property. They want to finish the book before they let it out. There’s a creative process that happens and so it’s the same thing for movies.”

As the community showed their excitement for this project online, The Film Stage continued to share that this Anderson film will be the director’s “most commercial” yet and feature a large ensemble cast. The budget for this film is said to be almost $100 million. 

And when big productions or celebrities come to our area it is an economic boost. Every dollar spent during production means three times that amount to the local economy.

“If a production were to spend a million, it really feels indirectly like 3 million by the time it leaves the economy,” Hesseltine said. “We definitely benefit from actual filming when they come. And secondly, we benefit from film tourism.”

The Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commission launched its film museum in October 2023. The museum showcases different iconic and well-known movies like Star Wars, E.T., BirdBox, and more that were all shot in our backyard. When a production does well it could mean an increase in tourism to view the film sites. 

“Whether we have a production now or later, whenever we have them, we ask that people just respect the process,”  Hesseltine said. “And if you do see any filming happening that you respect and I know it’s exciting, but we have to let them be able to do what they do. So that way [when] the movie comes out or the car commercial comes out or the print ad comes out, it showcases what we have to offer for film.”

Although the details of wanting to know more about the “BC PROJECT” that is set to begin filming, their extra casting call is still open for those interested. To be an extra in the film, email bcprojectextras@gmail.com. You’ll need to send a current photo and include your height, weight, clothing sizes, and contact information.

The full casting call post can be found on the Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commission’s Facebook page.
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