Movie plans move ahead

MARQUETTE – Plans are moving ahead to film “Northstar” in the Upper Peninsula.

The co-directors – Iron Mountain natives Seth and Nathan Anderson – along with producer Jason Hagen visited Iron Mountain in December and conducted an open house to bring more information to the community about the feature, much of which is slated to be shot in the Iron Mountain area. More than 120 people attended.

Seth Anderson, accompanied by location adviser Nate Alwine, also hiked various sites where scenes could be filmed.

Hagen toured hangar space at K.I. Sawyer with Sawyer International Airport rep Duane DuRay. K.I. Sawyer is another location at which some of “Northstar” may be filmed.

The trio came away from their visit even more enthusiastic about their feature film’s potential.

“(At the open house) in addition to giving attendees the opportunity to sign up as a possible extra or actor, we also opened the doors for people to help us behind the scenes if they are maybe a bit camera shy,” Seth Anderson said in an email. “The open house offered the three of us a special moment to get re-acquainted with the community and meet a wide range of talented people in the area. I feel that shooting ‘Northstar’ in the region will be a great way for many different folks to come out and use their individual gifts to make something fun together.

“In addition to the meet and greet, Nate, Jason and myself gave a slideshow presentation that detailed ‘Northstar’s’ development, why we decided to bring it to the U.P. and how we planned to make it later this year,” Anderson added. “I was able to introduce our team and provide some tidbits on our long family history in the area, how we formed our production company, and how ‘Northstar’ came to be a vehicle for us to showcase an area of the country that we all care about deeply.”

The production team shared more with those who expressed an interest in the filming.

“After I showed some slides of the locations we plan to use in both Iron Mountain and on the old Sawyer base, Nate then gave a visually stunning walk-through of the design artwork he’s cooked up,” Anderson said. “After that one-two punch of the location photos coupled with Nate’s art, I really think the audience understood the potential we have on our hands here. This area is flat-out gorgeous and it’s time to give it a stage.”

Hagen said the projected timeline, based on the final financing being secured, is to start to film some scenes this coming autumn, with the bulk of the work taking place starting in December and continuing through February 2015.

“We are planning a total filming period of four weeks,” Hagen said via email. “Roughly two to three weeks will be in Iron Mountain, followed by one to two weeks of shooting on the old K.I. Sawyer Air Force base. In the month and a half leading up to rolling cameras, we will be in the area to build sets and some actors will be on location with us for rehearsals and stunt training.”

Action sequences are planned to be filmed in the Iron Mountain area at Millie Hill and Piers Gorge, and certain scenes will take place at various landmarks such as the Northern Michigan Bank Building and the Freedom Stage downtown.

“At Sawyer, we are shooting the climactic battle, utilizing aircraft hangar space, the runway, and various abandoned military installations that match up with a post-disaster setting,” Hagen said.

And some local talent will find its way into the movie.

“Recognizable names are being sought for the lead roles roles,” he said. “You can expect to see at least two well-known actors in the movie, as well as some up and coming names rounding out the cast. At least a third of the roles in ‘Northstar’ will be cast locally. We are seeking to cast additional supporting roles with local and regional talent, we will be looking to the town and surrounding areas for featured extra roles (speaking) and general extras for our large crowd scenes.”

The production team is looking for Facebook and Twitter followers to help build a buzz about “Northstar.” Visit and to participate in those efforts.

“We want Northstar to be synonymous with Michigan,” Hagen said.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.