DEVENS -- The first movie production at New England Studios wrapped up its time in Massachusetts this week, as the crew for "Tumbledown" finished its last day shooting in the studios on Friday.
Set in the woods of Maine, the movie stars Rebecca Hall as a widow trying to write the biography of her late husband, a singer. She later meets a New York writer, played by Jason Sudeikis, who is also trying to pen her husband's story.
Talking on the phone from the studio, producer Kristin Hahn said New England Studios is fully functioning and well-equipped.
"It feels like I'm in Burbank right now, except I'm in Massachusetts," she said, giving the studio four out of five stars.
But what really drew "Tumbledown" was a combination of the local topography and the Massachusetts film tax credit. Although the film was set in Maine, Maine did not have the tax credit that Massachusetts offers, Hahn said.
The state's film tax incentives include exemption for sales and use tax, as well as credits for payroll and production expenses.
Scenes from the film were shot in a privately owned wood cabin in Groton, KJ's Airport Diner in Shirley and a boutique store in Concord.
"We've had, across-the-board, a really positive experience with the communities embracing us," said Hahn, who was also a producer for "The Departed."
Eighty-five percent of the crew was local, she said.
"Besides New England Studios, the crew base here in Massachusetts has been the great discovery for me -- that incredible level of talent in all departments here," she said. "And that is what makes or breaks a film, frankly."
The movie, running on a budget of about $4 million, likely left its mark on locals as well.
"I think we infused a lot of income into the local economy because we were spending money everywhere we went, and in a lot of different ways," Hahn said.
Chris Byers, director of marketing and operations at NE Studios, said everything worked out really well for both parties. The small size of the film provided the perfect test run, he explained.
"One of the things we didn't want to do is have a $100 or $150 million film come in, and the size of that would've been four or five times what this is going to be -- maybe 10 times what this would be," he said. "At that point it's very difficult to flush out mistakes."
Byers said there were a couple of learning curves for NE Studios throughout the "Tumbledown" process, including fixing cellphone reception. But now, the studio is ready to take on bigger projects.
"We are comfortable now with absorbing a major production," he said.
The studio is talking with six interested clients, including two TV series and four movies.
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