By JIM ANDERSON
IRON MOUNTAIN - Plans are being made to film an action movie in Dickinson County early next year, county officials learned Monday.
Seth Anderson, who grew up in Iron Mountain and now works in Los Angeles, addressed the county board to introduce his "Northstar" film project, which will have a budget of about $1 million.
Anderson described the movie as a "survivalist action film with a science fiction twist."
If all goes as planned, a 40-person crew will film "Northstar" from January through March.
Anderson said there may be a casting call later this year for local extras.
"Northstar" is a project of Lullskull Ltd., a production company co-founded by Anderson with his brother Nathan Anderson, also of Los Angeles, and Jason Hagen of New York.
The movie will feature scenes in the city of Iron Mountain, as well as rural and forest locations, including Piers Gorge and Pine Creek. Additional filming will take place at the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force base in Marquette County.
This is the first full-length feature for Lullskull, coming on the heels of the short films "The Merciful Death of Jonas Blake," a 2006 experimental western, and "Black," a 2008 psychic thriller.
Seth Anderson, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee film program in 2004, is the principal "Northstar" writer. No firm casting is in place for the starring roles, although Lullskull hopes to land at least one famous talent to headline the film.
Besides setting up a temporary office in Iron Mountain, the producers expect to bring economic benefits to the area through spending on housing, transportation, catering and other services.
While Anderson had no specific requests for the county, he said he may later seek permission to film on public property. He noted that he has previously been in contact with the Iron Mountain Main Street Program and Iron Mountain Schools.
In other action, the county board:
- Authorized a Michigan Department of Transportation contract that will provide a marketing grant of $27,778 to help promote Ford Airport. The county's local match is $2,778.
- Received an activities report from County Mine Inspector Steven M. Smith, who detailed the need for better fencing at a number of abandoned mine sites, particularly the Chapin Pits, Pewabic Mine and Keel Ridge in Iron Mountain.
- Heard Commissioner Joe Stevens praise the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Independence Day parade and related activities, including a "fantastic" World War II military flyover.
- Heard Stevens suggest a letter to the Michigan Public Service Commission, questioning whether its utility rate hike decisions are fair to customers.
- Heard Commission John Degenaer Jr. criticize a letter to The Daily News that claimed the 35 fair board meetings he attended in 2012 was an excessive number. Degenaer pointed out that he serves on two fair boards (Dickinson and U.P. State Fair) and that the local board meets every day of the five-day fair. He also estimated volunteering 80 to 100 hours on fair projects. "If you think you can run a fair in five days, good luck," he said.
- Approved the request of Probate Court Judge Thomas Slagle to install a rebuilt transmission on a 2006 Ford Taurus driven by the juvenile officer. The estimated cost from Town & Country Ford of Quinnesec is $3,000.
- Has accepted an offer from Integrys Energy Services of Ann Arbor to replace We Energies as the electrical power market supplier for the correctional center, Ford Airport and Northern Lights YMCA. Integrys representative Julie Cowling has estimated the county's annual savings at $14,000 or more. The offer was researched, at the board's instruction, by Controller Nicole Frost and Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Richards.
Jim Anderson's email address is email@example.com.