'Dear Eleanor' boosting Boulder County's reputation in the film industry
By Whitney Bryen
Times-Call community reporter
Crews arrived in the alleyway behind Longmont's Dickens Tavern about 5 a.m. Tuesday to kick off filming for the short film "Two Secrets."
Less than 20 cast and crew members, many Colorado residents, will shoot the entire film in five days at varying sites in Longmont, Boulder, Arvada and Littleton. Most of the filming later this week will be indoors and not as visible to the public as Tuesday's shots, which include road closure signs in the alleyway on the north side of Third Avenue east of Main Street.
Longmont resident Payton Peterson, location manager for the film, said Longmont is developing a reputation in the industry as an easy place to shoot since crews spent more than a month in the summer of 2013 filming "Dear Eleanor" — a movie starring Jessica Alba and Luke Wilson.
"'Dear Eleanor' put Longmont on the map," Peterson said.
The mountain backdrop, tree-filled landscapes, farms and historic buildings make Boulder County a versatile place for filming, Peterson said.
"I worked on a project that used Lyons as upstate New York," Peterson said.
"Two Secrets" takes place in Colorado, so crews are not having to work hard to make the scenes match the setting.
The short film is based on the true story of Miami resident Ali Dolan, who was abandoned by her parents hours after she was born, left in a Budweiser box in an alleyway.
The film focuses on the story of Dolan at 12 years old, when she found out the truth about her past and broke the news to her adopted parents that she is gay.
Florida director Charles Dye said the unconventional film is not intended to entertain the audience.
"The film is designed to make a difference in people's lives," Dye said. "We want the audience to be transformed by what they've seen."
California actress Cassidy Mack, 15, has been acting for more than three years but has a soft spot for her "Two Secrets" character, Janey, and the film's story.
Cassidy was in foster care before she was adopted at age 6. She embraces her own struggles with abandonment to connect with her character and Dolan's story.
"I kept quiet for a long time but after I started acting, I felt empowered to tell my story," Mack said. "The purpose of this is to tell kids that they're not alone and they can do anything they set their mind to."
Tuesday's shoot included scenes with a baby that will reveal Janey's past in the film, Dye said.
The film is expected to be complete by early next year to meet deadlines for film festival entries. A premier will likely be held in Boulder early next year, Dye said, but a date has not been set.
The short film will be used to seek funding for a full-length feature film that would likely return to Boulder County for filming, Dye said.
Whitney Bryen: 303-684-5274, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/soonerreporter.