News Column

Hallmark movie shot in Winston-Salem to debut on Mother's Day weekend

May 11, 2013


May 11--A Hallmark Channel movie shot in Winston-Salem and the surrounding area in early 2012 will debut tonight, as part of the channel's Mother's Day weekend programming.

"Beverly Lewis' The Confession" will air at 9 p.m. today on the Hallmark Channel.

"There are definitely some places of interest that people will recognize in Winston-Salem," said Rebecca Clark, the executive director of the Piedmont Triad Film Commission.

Those include local businesses such as Hutch & Harris, Alex's Cafe and Recreation Billiards. The film also shot in an estate in Trinity and a farmhouse in Davie County, among other locations.

"Hopefully, other filmmakers will see the beauty of this region," Clark said. "It's a good addition to our filmmaking resume."

The movie adapts the second book of the "Heritage of Lancaster County" trilogy by Beverly Lewis, a best-selling writer who specializes in faith-based romantic fiction. The first book in the series, "The Shunning," was adapted into a film that was shot in the Winston-Salem area in 2010 and aired in 2011. That film will be repeated at 7 p.m. before the new movie.

In "The Shunning," Katie Lapp (Danielle Panabaker) was a young Amish woman who learned she was adopted from outside the Amish community.

In the sequel, Katie (now played by Katie Leclerc) tries to find her birth mother Laura (Sherry Stringfield of "ER"), a socialite fighting terminal cancer, but her attempts are complicated by Laura's duplicitous husband Dylan (Adrian Paul of "Highlander").

Back in 2012, David Kappes, the film's producer, explained that the filmmakers had picked the Triad for the first film because "this one would give us the best match for the rolling farm country of Lancaster." And for the sequel, Kappes said, "Our last experience was great, so we came back."

According to Clark, more than 50 local crew members from the Triad and more than 200 extras were hired to work on "The Confession." The lead actors came in from outside the area, but there were speaking roles for about 14 local actors.

The direct economic impact on the region for "The Confession," Clark estimates, is about $1.8 million over the course of three months.

Last year was an exceptionally busy time for moviemaking in the Triad. Other movies shot in the Triad in 2012 included "Susie's Gift," which opened at the RiverRun International Film Festival here and is being screened Sunday at the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival in Wilmington; the Owen Wilson/Zach Galifianakis comedy "You are Here;" and "Goodbye To All That," which was directed by local writer Angus MacLachlan. And earlier this year, much of the "The Confession" production team came back to shoot another movie, "The Ultimate Life."

There is no word yet on whether the third book in Lewis' series, "The Reckoning," will be adapted and, if so, if it will be shot here. That will likely depend on how the film does in the ratings and how its sales are when it is released on DVD in June. But the fact that the filmmakers have already come back to the area twice is a good sign, according to Clark.

"To have repeat business like this, it's just the best-case scenario," she said. "Especially the Hallmark Channel. They're always creating television movies, and I would like to see them here to do a lot more.

"It proves to other folks that are considering this area that someone had such a positive experience filming here that they have come back to the same community."

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