Hollywood Movies

Movie starring Nick Offerman, Lake Bell filming in Santa Rosa

April 11, 20244 Mins Read

Residents of Santa Rosa’s Bennett Valley neighborhood were surprised this past weekend to see a moving truck-sized production vehicle emblazoned with a Hollywood studio logo, along with a gaggle of people carrying camera equipment and boom mics, outside a home on Creekside Road.

Their curiosity only increased when several of them who’d stopped by the house to see what was happening were shooed away by people dressed in official-looking orange vests.

Undeterred they turned to the neighborhood’s collective Facebook page to see if anyone there might know what was going on.

They soon learned the house is being used to film a feature-length movie written and directed by Santa Rosa native Miles Levin.

According to a now-deleted post on the Bennett Valley Strong Facebook page, a neighbor who lives near the home shared a photo of a notice they received about the filming.

“We’re filming an independent film written and directed by Santa Rosa local Miles Levin to help the good cause of ending the stigma around epilepsy,” the notice read. “We will be filming in your beautiful neighborhood … You may notice extra activity around that house during that time.”

Valerie Henry, who lives across the street, has a clear view of the happenings at the home.

“The most exciting day was the day they were filming out front,“ she said. ”I was trying to guess who’s doing what. Like the person with a script in their hand, maybe that’s an actor. It’s fun to see and people watch.“

Another Bennett Valley resident posted that the film crew had also been at a home on Hoen Avenue east of Summerfield Road last week.

According to a fundraising website, the movie is based on Levin’s award-winning short film, released in 2020, called “Under the Lights.”

It is about a boy with epilepsy who goes to his prom knowing the lights surrounding the dance floor could cause him to have a seizure.

Levin, a 2013 graduate of Sonoma Academy, launched a fundraising campaign to bring his goal of creating a feature film to life and raised more than $200,000 by the end of January.

According to the website, actors Lake Bell, Nick Offerman, Pearce Joza, Mark Duplass, and Hollywood newcomer Tanzyn Crawford, an Australian actress who most recently starred in “Tiny Beautiful Things” on Hulu, are all involved in the project.

On April 4, Bell posted on her official Instagram account a photo of herself standing in front of the production truck in Santa Rosa. She explained that she was “shooting an Indie film.”

In a 2022 interview with The Press Democrat, Levin, who was diagnosed with epilepsy as a pre-schooler, said some people discouraged him from making a film about epilepsy, saying that it wasn’t “sexy” or “universal.”

But Levin, who went though Santa Rosa Junior College’s Digital Filmmaking Program, disagreed.

The film, he said, will embody “a wealth of things that everyone has felt. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel doubt. Everyone has felt lonely. Everyone has felt shame. Everyone has watched someone else do the thing that you want to do, and watched them take it for granted,” he said in 2022.

On the film’s fundraising website, “Under the Lights” is described as “the largest campaign against epilepsy stigma in history.” It is a “family film with universal themes that will resonate with anyone that has ever felt alone or misunderstood.”

According to the notice distributed to Creekside Road residents, the filming is expected to continue through April 17.

You can reach Staff Writer Jennifer Graue at 707-521-5262 or jennifer.graue@pressdemocrat.com. On X (Twitter) @JenInOz.

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