Producer Danny Roth and team will make six movies in the area
Film crews wrapped the first of six movies last week that will be set in Somerset, bringing national attention to the Capital of Lake Cumberland on the Lifetime Network.
Producer Danny Roth and his team spent most of March at several locations around Pulaski County filming “Christmas at the Amish Bakery,” and have already started production on their next film, details of which will be released in the coming weeks.
Having filmed movies in Kentucky in the past, Roth, a 25-year veteran of the industry, was familiar with the state but had not yet been introduced to Somerset. A friend who lives in the area suggested he should visit— and with the reintroduction of Kentucky’s Entertainment Incentive Program a fresh opportunity, Roth decided to make a scouting stop during the holiday season last year.
Upon arriving in Somerset and meeting Mayor Alan Keck and local tourism directors Leslie Ikerd and Michelle Allen, Roth said his decision was an easy one — Somerset was a welcoming community with beautiful locations and a team of people willing to roll out the red carpet to make his projects happen.
“Somerset has been so welcoming to me from the first visit,” Roth said. “After meeting Mayor Keck I knew this community was excited at the opportunity to have us come back to film. The partnerships between Leslie Ikerd of See Somerset and local Charlie Loathen have been crucial in getting our team acclimated and in touch with community members and businesses that matched up to our script.”
Ikerd has spent weeks helping the crew secure filming locations, find local talent, and most importantly, making them feel at home.
“It was crucial to me that we made this experience unforgettable for Danny, Charlie and their team members. When it comes to showing true professional southern hospitality, the City of Somerset’s event team is second-to-none,” Ikerd said. “We have had such a great time rolling out the red carpet for this film crew. I’m grateful they chose to invest in Somerset and that they see it how we see it — as the spirit of southern Kentucky, rich in beauty and experiences. I’m excited to see Somerset showcased on the national stage in these movies.”
Opportunities like these are returning to Kentucky communities after a four-year hiatus. Kentucky’s Entertainment Incentive Program was launched in 2015 but was discontinued in 2018. Revived in 2022, the incentive program allows for $75 million — or $10 million per project — in tax credits to be given in a single year. Filmmakers can receive a 30 percent tax rebate on eligible expenditures and an additional 5 percent for local hires and shooting in enhanced incentive counties identified by the state.
Having this recruitment tool is huge, Ikerd said, because creates a ripple effect in the local economy when a community is selected. Film crews stay in the community and generate transient tax revenue, while also spending money with local restaurants and businesses and creating short-term and long-term job opportunities for residents.
Somerset resident Charlie Loathen is one such example. After learning that a film was being made in his hometown, he met with Roth and expressed his desire to lead a local production team.
“To be able to work in my hometown doing what I’m most passionate about has been a dream come true,” Loathen said. “What really has made all the difference is the love and support I’ve received from our community. I’ve been flooded by the number of people who have been willing to help this happen for my dreams as well as for our town. I’m so proud of our city.”
There will be more opportunities for residents to get involved as filming for the next five movies gets underway. Loathen said his team will put out calls for extras on every film and is looking for locations on which to shoot. In “Christmas at the Amish Bakery,” crews filmed at Haney’s Appledale Farm, Serendipity at the Orange Door, Charred Oak, Bear Wallow Farm, Lee’s Ford Marina, and the Somerset Energy Center, as well as two local Airbnbs.
“We do appreciate it so much when the community wants to be involved,” Loathen said, suggesting those who do want to take part should watch for updates on the See Somerset Facebook page.
Keck said he is grateful Roth selected Somerset for these films and is excited to see them on screen.
“What we’ve known for so long — that Somerset is a special, beautiful place with incredible people — is now being shared nationwide through film and I couldn’t be more excited,” Keck said. “I wish Danny and Charlie the best as they make these films and hope they know they have our utmost support and appreciation.”