‘Hollow Creek’ filming wraps today

HARRISVILLE – Newfoundland Films is wrapping up filming for “Hollow Creek” in Ritchie and Wyoming counties.

Actress and director Guisela Moro said she was inspired to bring the “Stephen King-style thriller” to the state after purchasing a Newfoundland puppy in southern West Virginia about four years ago.

Donna Linsell, a Parkersburg resident and line producer for the film, said Newfoundland Films contracted on-screen and behind-the-scenes personnel from across the state. Filming began in September at the Log House at Sweet Trees in Harrisville. The home is owned by Barbara and Russell Rogerson.

Shooting for the film wraps up today at The Filling Station in Cairo, Linsell said.

“Many beautiful locations throughout Ritchie and Wyoming counties have been utilized as settings,” she said.

Linsell said the cast and crew were welcomed by West Virginians. Among the organizations and residents helping were the W.Va. State Film Commission’s Pam Haynes and Jamie Cope, the Cairo Volunteer Fire Department, the Pineville Fire Department, the Harrisville Volunteer Fire Department, the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, the Wyoming County Circuit Clerk’s Office, the W.Va. State Parks Office (Twin Falls Resort), and canine officers Timmy Jarrell and Robert Flinn of the Nitro and Hurricane police departments.

Ralph Layfield, assistant fire chief with the Cairo VFD, said Wednesday their firefighters provided the film with water.

“They needed rain for filming so we hooked up the fire hoses and made it look like rain,” Layfield said. “It was a new experience for all of us.”

Layfield said the car chase scene needed the effect of rainwater, so the Ritchie County firefighters worked to make it happen.

“Four years ago I came to Wyoming County from Washington, D.C., for a very specific breed of Newfoundland puppies,” Moro said of her first visit to the state. “They’re large, water dogs that look like St. Bernards.”

Moro said she told the dog breeder, Laura McKinney, that after driving through the area and falling in love with scenery she would write a movie and film it in the area.

“She just laughed at me, and it took me four years but I said this is it, Hollow Creek,” Moro said.

Moro, the actress, writer, producer and director, said she used about 14 West Virginians for the film. Some were new to acting and others had more than 15 years of experience, she said. They all blended nicely.

“I wanted the authentic accent of the area,” she said of the cast for her film. “I decided to go with people who were not actors but they blended well with my professional actors.”

Half of the crew was from the Parkersburg, Cairo and Wyoming County areas, she said.

Moro said the end of filming had been great.

The Wyoming and Ritchie County fire departments were able to make some of the shots look as though there was snow in them, Moro said.

“For the outdoor scene of the cabin, the fire departments came and made snow for us,” she said. “We were able to have continuity during the entire shoot.”

Firefighters used the foam typically used to put out fires.

“We have created lifelong friendships with many wonderful people in West Virginia,” said executive producer Steve Daron of Florida. “We feel blessed by the experience.”

Linsell said the story centers on a best-selling author, Blake Blackman, who was seeking inspiration for his overdue horror novel and retreats to a remote cabin in the Appalachian Mountains accompanied by his girlfriend.

Complications arise when the author’s girlfriend observes a child abduction and goes missing. Blackman becomes the prime suspect in the mysterious case.

Daron and Moro play the lead roles in the film, while collaborating as actors and writers. They have worked together on projects, on stage and in film. Both are master actors with The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theater.

Moro has worked for Telemundo NBC TV and independent films. Daron has appeared on “Days of Our Lives,” “The Glades,” and other feature-length films.

Director of photography Jon Schellenger, of Cinematic Motion Pictures in Port St. Lucie, Fla., said he has enjoyed filming in the state.

“We will be coming back to make another movie,” he said. “All the scenes have gotten great coverage and are looking stellar.”

The film is anticipated for release in the fall of 2013. Moro said there will be special screenings in the locations where filming took place.