SET Bakery

That’s a wrap: Film crew finishes first Lifetime movie set in Somerset 

Producer Danny Roth and team will make six movies in the area. — TEST

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.”

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