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Movie a boon for business?

Thanks to the independent film “Coldwater,” at least $200,000 to $300,000 could trickle down through Nevada City and Grass Valley area businesses.

“Coldwater” is a dark, coming-of-age drama to be shot entirely in Grass Valley and Nevada City for six weeks in June and July. The film’s estimated budget is $1.5 million-plus.



Beverly Lewis, director of Placer County’s Placer-Lake Tahoe film office, said it’s not uncommon for one-third of the below the-line budget to be spent locally. She defines below the line as the budget minus the top-salaried personnel.




“This money goes into all kinds of places,” Lewis said. “Money is spent all over the area.”

Although each production is different, she points out, representatives from every production buy items locally before, during and after shooting. Money goes toward items such as furniture rentals, copying and fax machines, stationery supplies, photocopying, lumber, fabric, gifts and props.

“A lot of cast and crew pick up clothes and various sundry things they left at home when on location. They eat out. Laundry is a big one. Wardrobe needs things dry-cleaned overnight,” Lewis said. “Caterers buy food locally. Every dollar they spend at the gas station, they’re paying someone’s salary.”

“It’s a real boon when you get the whole film shot on location,” she added. “I wish they were shooting in my backyard.”

Lewis was initially approached by the “Coldwater” staff about potential Auburn locations and crew members.

“Sean Michael (‘Coldwater’s’ director-producer) is going to be wonderful to have in the community. One, he used to live there, and two, he wants to include as many local people as possible,” Lewis said. “That’s fabulous – that’s what every film commission wants. The smaller productions tend to involve and hire more local people.”

Michael is talking to about 30 potential technical crew members in the area and three area caterers. In addition, he needs 100 extras and at least 10 actors with speaking roles, all of whom will receive wages and meals.

An open casting call will be at the Holbrooke Hotel from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 4.

“We plan to hire 99 percent of all our extras from Nevada County and give local actors a chance at the speaking roles,” Michael said.

He also said that downtown businesses will benefit because of increased foot traffic during auditioning and filming times in Grass Valley.

Kathleen Dodge, a member of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce’s El Dorado Tahoe Film Commission, uses the word “excited” when she talks about “Coldwater” in Nevada County.

“I am very excited for you guys,” Dodge said. “I am excited Sean Michael is coming here, and I look forward to talking to him. It’s always exciting when someone who lived in the area comes back. Motion picture filming brings revenue. They are looking for local services, local talent and local businesses.”

And long after the “Coldwater” representatives leave, the economic impact could still be felt from the production.

“This film will be widely released throughout the United States and internationally,” Michael explained. “At the end of the film, the credits will say it is filmed entirely in ‘Grass Valley-Nevada City,’ which should bring both tourism to the area and future productions.”

Michael said he wants county businesses to profit from his film. The 1981 Nevada Union High School graduate has family here.

“I know Nevada County thrives on tourism. We’re here to benefit the community,” Michael said. “We originally thought of just shooting exteriors here, but I wanted to keep it in the community. The community is perfect for the film. The script came alive when we saw the town.”

Vincent Grashaw, who wrote “Coldwater” in 1999 and formed Eye Scream Films and MicShaw Productions with Michael in 2000, agrees that Nevada County is ideal for the film’s setting.

“Everything in the script matched. It’s a beautiful location. (The) main part of town is hip and fun. I love the atmosphere. People are friendly,” Grashaw said.

“I really want to get the community involved as much as Sean,” he said.


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