Feature film to shoot in Haywood

Three Haywood County towns will be used as filming sites for an upcoming feature movie. The film — a Catalyst Pictures project called “Chasing Grace” — is a faith-based thriller.

Filming sites in the county will include the Canton Police Department, Canton Middle School and Haywood Community College in Clyde. Locations in Waynesville will include The Classic Wineseller, Walker Garage and the First Baptist Church and a residence near Camp Branch Road. 

The production will kickoff on May 25 and run through June 10. Extras are currently being sought for the scenes. Those extras would not be paid, but put in the film as volunteers.

“I know they’ll be using quite a few local as extras,” said Waynesville Town Manager Marcy Onieal.

The film’s director, David Temple, spent his childhood summers at Lake Junaluska, where his father worked for the United Methodist Church. It was the ancient grandeur of the surrounding mountains that’s been cherished by David ever since.

“Having grown up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I’ve always been in love with this area,” he said. “We’re excited about filming there. All of our locations have been secured, the actors are showing up Friday and Saturday, and we’ll begin shooting Sunday. We’ll really be utilizing the natural beauty of this area.”

Temple was reacquainted with Haywood County after meeting a local land Realtor last year. He stayed at her house and gave her a copy of his book, Discovering Grace, which the film is based on.  

“I met David last year through a friend and welcomed them into my home as they prepared to film a pilot TV show in Asheville,” said Realtor Jackie Cure. “A week after their stay, I received a thank you card and a copy of Discovering Grace. As I read the story, it was easy to imagine [the small town of] Mission Grove, since I lived in Haywood County for 17 years.”

After a series of email exchanges and messages, Temple decided to take Cure up on her suggestion to film in Haywood County. 

“[Jackie’s] relationship with this area, with us and the vibe are just great,” the director said. “The people have been so welcoming to us here — it’s incredible.”

Cure introduced Temple to numerous people and places that she felt would work well as filming locations for the production. Eventually, the pieces of the puzzle began to fit together, thus leading to Catalyst Pictures finding its way to Western North Carolina.

“All I found myself doing was sharing a county and the mountains I love deeply with a person (Temple) that loves their craft just as deeply,” she said. “In my heart, I felt this was a thank you to Haywood County as it was a small town whose people welcomed my family 20 years ago with open arms. My dessert? I got an education in passion, community and connection, and I’m deeply grateful for it.”

Becky Seymour, video marketing manager for the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, said she was “thrilled” about the film project coming the Haywood. 

“Haywood County has so much to offer to the film and TV world as a local destination,”  Seymour said. 

The TDA recently revived the Haywood County Film Commission in an effort to plug into the rapidly growing film production industry in Western North Carolina, with “The Hunger Games” series being the biggest blockbuster shot in this region. Seymour heads the commission as its director.

“Often, when approached with an opportunity like this, I work with residents of our community that I feel can send me in the right direction to find the location that’s going to seal the deal,” she said. “I’m extremely optimistic when it comes to the future of the relationship Haywood County can have with the production world.”

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