A movie filmed and set in Chippewa Falls has debuted a trailer and has finished post-production.
But viewers may have to wait until 2019 or longer to see the feature-length film, said writer-producer Karen Hurd of Scene & Hurd Productions of Fall Creek.
“The Lumber Baron,” from Twin Cities director Barry Andersson and writer-producer Karen Hurd of Fall Creek, is billed as a period drama that follows young man Daniel Rimsdale as he returns to Chippewa Falls in 1910 to salvage his father’s lumber business.
Post-production – including editing, visual effects and creating a musical score – has just ended. Scene & Hurd is now working with potential buyers.
The timeline for the film depends on the buyer, Hurd said: “Hopefully it would be within the next year. I’m hoping within the next six months.”
Shooting ended in January, Hurd said.
During a bad January snowstorm, schools were shut down and travel was delayed. But Hurd, Andersson and a group of costumed actors ventured out to shoot the final scenes at the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum in Eau Claire.
“We said, this doesn’t matter, this is a million-dollar day for production quality,” Hurd remembered. “We went out and filmed in the terrible snowstorm, trying to keep the camera lens from getting wet.”
In the film, main character Rimsdale gets drawn into a hunt for hidden treasure inside a mansion along the way.
That mansion was inspired by Chippewa Falls’ Cook-Rutledge Mansion, 505 W. Grand Ave.
The Cook-Rutledge was the primary set location during filming, Hurd said.
The red-brick mansion housed a real-life “lumber baron,” Edward Rutledge, from 1887 to 1911. It inspired the project since the very beginning, before Hurd began writing, she said in 2017: “When I toured the Cook-Rutledge, I ended up writing the film specifically with that location in mind.”
The Lumber Baron’s $250,000 budget means dozens were involved, and the production company didn’t skimp, Hurd said.
“We already had 150 people involved in that project. To bring in all the post-production staff, we’re well over 180 people,” Hurd said.
She hopes to sell the movie for at least $250,000, to recoup the movie’s budget, but is “hoping we can do a whole lot better than that.”
“Then that will fund the next movie or TV series,” Hurd said.
The Lumber Baron trailer has 17,000 views on Scene & Hurd’s Facebook page.
Hurd, a self-professed Chippewa Valley history buff, is proud of the film’s dedication to accuracy.
The local community will see itself in the film, she said. Characters refer to the Chippewa River, the Chippewa Valley and towns by name.
“You’re going to see what life is like in 1910 in the lumber industry and the Chippewa Valley,” Hurd said. “But this isn’t a documentary. This is a story.”