OREGON, Ill. (WTVO) — Seated along the banks of the Rock River and under the watchful eye of the Chief Black Hawk statue, Oregon, Illinois is becoming something of a mecca for moviemakers.
For the last week, production has been rolling on “Adult Children,” a comedy about a trio of siblings whose visit to their parents’ cabin is thrown into chaos when the pair announce they’re divorcing. Josh Bywater, who’s appeared on the TV series “Utopia”, stars with “Chicago Med” and “Chicago Fire” bit players Angela Morris and Timmy Barron.
With a population of 3,592 and a classic “American Main Street” appeal, the county seat of Ogle County has become something of a hotspot for both Hollywood and independent filmmakers in the last few years.
“Everyone here has just been incredible and welcoming and wonderful and very enthusiastic,” said the film’s producer, Angie Gaffney, co-founder of Independent Film Alliance Chicago. “And we hope that we’ve been able to spend our dollars in such a way where that economic impact has been felt in return.”
Budgeted just under $1 million, “Adult Children” will also film in Dixon in the coming days, Gaffney said.
The film marks the third feature to be shot in Oregon, along with “The Blacklight,” which was filmed at Stronghold Castle, and “Lacy’s Christmas Do-Over.” Portions of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” were filmed at White Pines State Park in neighboring Mt. Morris.
“The reason they chose Oregon, when we talked to them when they first came out, is because it was the location they wanted,” said Mayor Ken Williams. “They wanted to show a small town and family dynamics within the small town. We have the riverfront. We have a historic downtown. And, we’re small-town Americana.”
Williams said hosting the filmmakers is a boost for the city’s economy.
“Our local restaurants provide our food service and catering. They go to hotels in the area. So, we see a lot of activity,” he said.
Gaffney added, “There’s a real impact that that industry of filmmaking can have on day-to-day lives. It generates jobs. We spend money. We have to feed our crew three meals a day. We have to film the locations, we rent trucks. So, the great thing about a movie or film production being in town is that that economic impact is going to be rippled and felt throughout the community.”
Gaffney said the film budgeted 20 days for filming, and Thursday the crew was on day 19.
“We filmed at a lovely house in Dixon for two and a half weeks. We filmed at the local firehouse. An art studio at a local cafe in Oregon has been incredibly welcoming. We were filming on Main Street yesterday, at a bar, and were filming here at the [Pines Meadow Veterinary] Clinic and another family house and, yeah, it’s just been it’s all been wonderful,” she said.
More film production could be on the way. According to Gaffney and Williams, the capital investment group, Chicago Media Angels, and Rock River Studios are planning on starting a production company in Oregon.
“Adult Children” is co-directed by John Klein and Stephen Kniss. No distribution deal has yet been announced.