Professional filmmakers have been hard at work in Dunsmuir, shooting scenes for the indie psychological thriller “Hotel Dunsmuir.” A small cast and crew comprised of well-established working actors and film industry professionals convened for a series of location shoots in Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta last week.
Filmmaker Robb Gardner, who is making the movie with Michael Z. Hall as script writer/director/cinematographer and Erik Wegner as producer, said by Saturday, they had been filming for eight consecutive days. They gave the cast and crew a day off Sunday, during which Gardner took them to see several local sights such as the McCloud Falls.
Gardner said that they are still in the process of bringing in more key actors as they prepare to shoot different scenes. Currently, the two lead roles include Jasmin Jandreau and Jose Rosete.
Jandreau is an award-winning American actress based in London. She’s acted in films that were shot in Cambodia, India, and Europe and won two best actress awards for her leading role in “The Trail,” portraying a young pioneer woman stranded on the Oregon Trail during the Gold Rush. Jandreau is also a nominee for best female actor for her recent role as Cathy Earnshaw in “Wuthering Heights,” which is showing in film festivals before it’s released on streaming platforms.
Jandreau is enthusiastic about her recent role in a film called “Aimee,” speaking animatedly about her work portraying a U.S. military spec ops combatting human trafficking in suburban America.
Rosete is also an American award winning actor who has been consistently working in the film business for more than 10 years. He acted in several early episodes of The Walking Dead: Red Machete – a spin-off from the long running TV series, as well as several Lifetime movies.
He has worked in the Philippines, Cambodia, Norway, Panama, London, England, Paris, France, and now, Dunsmuir.
On Thursday actors and film crew members were busy at work shooting inside the old Masonic Lodge. Hall directed and filmed the scene, complete with special lighting and movie fog.
Working behind the scenes was gaffer Caesar Morales and sound mixer Brian Gaudet. Morales said he was a high school media teacher for seven years, and has worked in several different technical and artistic capacities in the film industry. Gaudet said this is his “first big project.”
Both Gaudet and Wegner, who are from New York, said they feel right at home in Dunsmuir, because it reminds them of all the small towns in New York. Looking down Dunsmuir Avenue from the Masonic Lodge building, Wegner said, “This could be in New York.”
On Saturday, the crew did an all-day scene shoot in Mount Shasta, utilizing the interior of Watson’s Vets Club. Owner Chris Watson said he’d been approached several times about filming a movie scene in the bar, but nothing had ever come of it until now.
Five locals, including Doug Porter, Rod Merys, Jim Powell and some extras participated in Scene 15.
Porter, who plays the role of Ray in the “Dunsmuir Hotel” movie, said he was a commercial actor in Los Angeles and acted in a film shot in Bolivia, called “Unicorn.”
Merys is a local stage actor with the Siskiyou Performing Arts Center in Yreka. He plays the role of Jefferson and credited DeLeon Grabowski for being the one who referred him for the experience.
Powell is well-known locally as a heavy metal musician and a local landscape business owner. He plays the part of Corky.
Local extra Billy Tave is a musician and Dunsmuir resident who saw the casting call for movie extras posted on Facebook.
Extra Jude Ordakowski of Mt. Shasta said she and Tave “rehearsed” for the Saturday film shoot by going to Watson’s Vets Club the night before to “get into character.”
Gardner’s 81 year-old uncle, John Bunton of Mount Shasta, rounded out the extras.
Acting, sound, lighting, and cinematography are not all that’s involved in making a film. For a film of the psychological thriller/horror genre, the make-up artist is a critical role.
Rafif Haj Ahmad most recently worked as the make up artist for “Shadows,” a feature film scheduled for release in August. Born and raised in Kuwait, Rafif recently relocated to the United States because the social culture here is so much more open and accepting than the culture in which she was raised.