'Indie' movie being filmed locally

By: Penne Usher Telegraph Correspondent
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An unused retails space at Burke Junction was transformed into a sound stage last week for the filming of an independent feature film. The film, “Melissa May I” is the work of local film producer, Jim Meyers. This is the Folsom residents third film. “This is a quirky character-driven film,” Meyers said between takes Friday. The low-budget independent feature film, by Ultra Mirth Productions, is being shot in the foothills in and around Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills and Placerville. The film is follows three people as they pursue their goals in the music scene. Ben, played by Morgan Simpson, got rich quickly then lost it all. He’s not so moved by the riches to rags portion of his life as he is by the two women, Melissa, played by Dana Brooke, and Clair, played by Heather Simpson, who lift him up after the financial fall. Morgan Simpson won Best Actor at the Orlando Film Festival (Nov. 2010) for his lead performance in the feature film “Black, White and Blues.” The film is currently on the film festival circuit. Brooke has been a working actress in New York City for nine years, and has appeared in numerous productions for theatre, film, and television. In the spring of 2010, she’s starring in a New York stage production of “Hate Mail.” (Dana previously starred in this comedy at The B Street Theatre in Sacramento). Heather Simpson is originally from the Sacramento area and has been a working actress in Los Angeles for 14 years. She has appeared in studio and independent feature films, network TV shows, TV pilots, national TV commercials and print ads. When looking for locations to shoot, Burke Junction was suggested by Kathleen Dodge, executive director of the Office of Film and Media for El Dorado County. “She thought this would be great,” Meyers said. “The people here have been very welcoming.” Dodge could not be reached for comment as of press time. A few of the films shot in El Dorado County include Inferno, Almost Famous starring Kate Hudson, The Horse Whisperer and White Air. About one fourth of “Melissa May I” has been shot, with more funding needed to complete the project. No release date has been set.