Movie filming at Sawyer OK’d

K.I. SAWYER – Local production of a motion picture called “Northstar” moved another step forward Tuesday when the Marquette County Board approved a license agreement which will allow two weeks of filming in December at Sawyer International Airport.

Brothers Seth and Nathan Anderson, who grew up in Iron Mountain, and Jason Hagen, a friend from Chaska, Minn., plan to film the post-apocalyptic movie at locations in Iron Mountain and K.I. Sawyer.

Sawyer director of operations Steve Schenden said the airport will be used for interior scenes and the movie’s ending. The filmmakers – who live in New York and Los Angeles – intend to use some local residents in the production.

Under terms of the license approved unanimously by the board Tuesday with “A” Street Films LLC, filming will take place over a two-week period, beginning Dec. 1. One or more hangar bays and a two-story office will be used.

The county will rent the hanger bays for $40 a day and the office space for $20 each day. Each of the hangar bays are about 4,224 square feet. The office space is 2,062 square feet.

If snow removal assistance is necessary, and airport maintenance staff is available, an equipment and operator rate of $155 an hour will be charged to the film company.

Schenden said before the film company can take possession of the premises, the county will be paid $2,000, which will be drawn down as reimbursement for utilities, snow removal, security and other items. Any remaining balance will be returned to the company.

The idea for the movie came from a 30-minute short script Seth Anderson wrote in 2004. The film is about survivalists eking out an existence after a mysterious cataclysm has killed most of the residents of North America in a single day.

“Northstar focuses on a young father in this group as he seeks out a means of waking his daughter from a coma that is somehow linked to the tragedy,” the movie’s synopsis states.

“One morning, a strange woman emerges from the forest claiming she knows how to revive the man’s child, but this visitor has been followed by a ruthless military force that will stop at nothing to secure a secret that is locked away in her mind. Lines are drawn, loyalties tested and a battle for the future of a country is waged in the northern woods.”

The main filming locations for the movie are the main street, schools and surrounding areas in Iron Mountain.

“Thanks to our intimate knowledge of the area, we’ve always assumed this film would be shot in the U.P. during the winter months so we could achieve the right level of desolation,” Seth Anderson told The Mining Journal for a story in the summer of 2012. “Despite the cold, snow is very photogenic.”

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.