News Column

Los Angeles filmmaker scouts North Shore

December 3, 2013


Dec. 03--Filmmakers from a Los Angeles-based production company will use the North Shore as the backdrop for a movie adaptation of a novel set in a cabin near Lake Superior.

Lenny Beckerman of Hello! Films said he expects to begin shooting the small-budget take on Peter Geye's novel "Safe from the Sea" in April. He currently is casting the three principal roles and will look locally for extras.

"We're definitely going to make the movie there," Beckerman said. "The book takes place there, and the area is very significant to the story."

"Safe from the Sea," Geye's debut novel, is the story of a stormy father-son relationship and a challenging request the former makes of the latter at the end of the retired seaman's life.

"I thought it was a beautiful father-son story set in an interesting part of the world that a lot of people might have forgotten," Beckerman said.

The New York Review of Books said of the novel published in 2009:

"Throughout the book, readers are given an affectionate and perceptive view of roughhewn northern Minnesota, not only its Walden-esque lakes and forest, but also its thrifty and honest people."

Publisher's Weekly reported the book had been optioned in 2012.

Geye, a Twin Cities-based writer whose fiction leans north, said he's not involved with the project.

Travis Milloy, a writer with Minnesota ties, has written the screenplay, according to Beckerman. He said the film's budget is less than $5 million and that he's shooting for "some names" in the starring roles.

Beckerman tweeted his findings as he scouted locations along the North Shore in mid-November, starting with: "I'm going on a location scout to #Duluth this #weekend #Minnesota folks ... suggest, follow, reply, comment and give insight." According to his Twitter trail, stops included Beaver Bay and Stoney Point.

Beckerman isn't the only filmmaker scouting locations in northern Minnesota. Riki McManus of the Upper Minnesota Film Office said three other groups are considering regional locations.

Projects include:

--Minnesota filmmaker Eric D. Howell is looking at locations along the shore for a short film. Howell's film "Ana's Playground" was in consideration for an Oscar nomination for Best Narrative in 2011 but fell short of the top five. He was a stunt coordinator for "North Country" and "Factotum" and worked in special effects for "The Mighty Ducks" and "Mallrats."

His IMDb page lists him as being in pre-production on "Voice from the Stone," a story of a haunted young boy set in an Italian countryside.

--Minnesota-born actor Patrick Coyle is working on a feature-length project. No other details are available but, according to IMDb, he's working on "The Field Trip," a movie about male bonding and camping.

--The makers of a horror film are looking at the Iron Range, McManus said.

According to IMDb, Beckerman is the producer of an adaptation of Anthony Bourdain's "Bone in the Throat." He is the executive producer of "uwantme2killhim," the true story of a teenaged boy's "descent into the dangerous world of the Internet and the harrowing consequences of his actions."

Hello! Films, is part of Hello & Company, described on its website as a boutique production company that works in commercial, feature film and television.


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