Following the rumors of Bruce Springsteen landing in Hastings and popping up in several locations in south-central Nebraska, including Webster County, it was revealed he was the on-camera talent for a Chrysler Jeep commercial titled “The Middle” that aired during the Super Bowl. Nebraska Film Office Director, Laurie Richards, says the state’s regional airports continue to be a draw for production experts.
But Springsteen’s appearance was just the icing on the cake in 2021.
The Discovery Channel’s “Heartland Docs” continued with its third year of filming in the Hartington region, with locals saying they look forward to the cast and crew’s return for a fourth season. The network also aired an episode of “Ghost Hunters” that was filmed in Crofton, with another episode airing last month. The show featured the infamous Argo Hotel, whose haunted history has been documented on numerous occasions throughout the decades. Finally, Discovery treated viewers to the scenic beauty of Arbor Day Lodge, Platte River State Park, Victoria Springs and Chadron State Park during an episode of “RV There Yet,” which was filmed with support from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The Nebraska-focused episode corresponded to the 100th anniversary of the state park system, and showed a side of Nebraska that even some locals may not have explored.
Meanwhile, a new documentary featuring a notorious Nebraskan is slated for a 2022 release, and contains footage shot on-location in Lincoln and the surrounding rural roads and homesteads.
In September, Omaha hosted an independent feature from Syncretic Entertainment titled Daft State. The soon-to-be-released psychological thriller, directed by Chad Bishoff and co-written with Sam Harter, harnessed locally sourced crew and production materials.
Also in 2021, the Nebraska Film Office and Scottsbluff Economic Development worked together to scout and secure locations for a forthcoming feature film, Bones and All. Directed by Luca Guardagnino and written and produced by David Kajganich, the film stars Timotheé Chalamet, Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, André Holland, Jessica Harper, Chloë Sevigny, Francesca Scorsese, David Gordon Green, Anna Cobb and Jake Horowitz. It tells the story of the first love between Maren — a young woman learning how to survive on the margins of society — and Lee, an intense and disenfranchised drifter, as they meet and accompany each other on a 1,000-mile odyssey that takes them through the back roads, hidden passages and trap doors of Ronald Reagan’s America. The communities of Crawford and Chadron provided support to the film crew, with catering from Dairy Sweet becoming a hit attraction. Actors and crew who lodged at Ft. Robinson and Chadron were reportedly amazed by the beauty of the film’s featured Oglala Grasslands. Other recognizable locations include the abandoned highway 26 gas station at Minatare.
The summer also saw a promotional shoot for Hewlett Packard, which occurred on-location at UNL’s Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts (CEMA). The promo featured HP virtual reality equipment that has been used by CEMA students as part of a partnership between UNL and HP. The video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICDIcF4lp8o.
These are just a few of the highlights that wrapped up a memorable 12 months for Nebraska film. For more information about the state’s film industry, contact Laurie Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Nebraska Film Office website.