Lights, camera, action! Dennis Web page hopes to attract filmmakers

By Nicole Muller
April 15, 2010

DENNIS — Come May, the Massachusetts Film Office will add Dennis to its list of six communities with film Web pages. “Dennis, MA. The Reel Deal” provides filmmakers with everything they need to know about the town as a location in which to film a major motion picture.

At the 2009 Town Meeting, Dennis residents set aside $10,000 to promote the town as a destination. With the anticipated advent of Plymouth Rock Studios, Selectwoman Heidi Schadt saw an opportunity: promote Dennis as a film destination.

In recent years, the films “Joe and Joe,” “American Primitive” and “Noel” were shot in Dennis, the latter of which won a major award at the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival.

The opportunity led selectmen in September to hire Peggie Hunter of Harwich Port to create a Web page that would show movie studios just what the town has to offer in the way of historic buildings and beautiful landscapes and seascapes. At last week’s selectmen’s meeting, Hunter provided a preview of the site she’s about to launch.

“Plymouth Rock Studios is starting slowly because of funding problems, so it won’t be the massive project that we expected,” Hunter said. “Still, location scouts can find Dennis to be an attractive venue for films.”

So far, only The Berkshires, Boston, Falmouth, Greater Merrimac Valley, New Bedford and Quincy have Web pages linked to the Mass. Film Office’s site. The Dennis site will also be linked to Plymouth Rock Studios, the Dennis Chamber of Commerce site, Cape Cinema’s site and Massachusetts Tax Credit Information.

The Reel Deal site offers assistance in finding tax breaks and with both the permitting process and working with town personnel such as the harbormaster and beach and recreation director.

“Located on beautiful Cape Cod, Dennis is one of New England’s most sparkling coastal communities … and is less than a two-hour drive to international airports in Boston and Providence,” the site says.

A photo gallery highlights the town’s historic buildings, parks, harbor, beaches, ponds, rivers, conservation lands and five villages.

How does the town benefit if a film crew comes calling?

“Typically, the town wouldn’t make much money from leasing buildings,” Hunter said. “It would make money from the interest people would have in the location of the film.” Before the site launches, Hunter will add video footage from “Joe and Joe,” “American Primitive” and “Noel” to give scouts a taste of what’s been done here.

Once the site is launched, Hunter will be available to conduct “familiarization” trips for scouts, including a tour of the town featuring the types of locations they’re interested in filming.

Hunter said Dennis is among the few communities promoting itself in this way.

“Now we keep our fingers crossed.”

Nicole Muller can be reached at

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