Independent movie filming in prison this month


STANDISH — The Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, which was closed by the state government in 2009 during widespread budget cuts, will be the setting for “Heartlock,” a drama about life inside prison for corrections officers and inmates.

Curtis Hall, a co-producer on the film, said the cast and crew will shoot for a week in Jackson, and then come to Standish May 18, with filming beginning May 20.

“We are shooting a drama about prisoners and the guards, and the interactions between the two — the manipulation that goes on between the two,” he said.

Hall said the film is scheduled to wrap up shooting in Standish June 7. He said he and other members of the film team scouted the Standish location and found it to be an ideal location for “Heartlock.”

“It’s a really cool, interesting facility that really provides us with a lot of range to make our project,” he said.

While the movie is being filmed in Standish, Hall said some cast and crew members plan on supporting the community by booking rooms at the Standish Motel, hiring local caterers and purchasing lumber and other set equipment locally.

“We’re trying out best to use the community to the best our ability,” he said.

Standish area businesses will not be the only local commodities for the film, Arenac County residents of all ages and ethnicities can earn pay and screen time as extras, Hall said.

“We’re limited in the fact that it’s a male prison, so the dominance of our cast is going to be mostly men,” he said.

Those who want to work as an extra on the film can send an email to, Hall said.

City Manager Curt Hillman said some residents of the city and surrounding area also received letters about the crew possibly utilizing their homes as a location for filming.

The film’s production company, Midnight Crew LLC, chose Michigan over its home state of New York because of the state’s film incentive and the cooperation of the Michigan Department of Corrections, Hall said.

“It’s a little bit easier here to get access to the inside of the prison than it is in the state of New York,” he said. “Plus the film incentive is pretty good, especially for an independent company.”

An inside look at ‘Heartlock’

The Midnight Crew-produced feature length drama will give viewers an inside look at how inmates and prison guards interact inside the fictional Heartlock prison. It is being filmed in Jackson and Standish.

"Heartlock" is being produced by Veronica Nickel and Curtis Hall. Jon Kauffman will direct the film. According to Kauffman’s page, Kauffman was an assistant to director Darren Aronofsky on the Oscar-nominated “Black Swan.”

The film stars Alexander Dreymon, Lesley-Ann Brandt and Erik LaRay Harvey.

In 2013 Dreymon portrayed Luke Ramsey on the FX Network’s “American Horror Story,” according to IMDb. Brandt was a cast member in the recently filmed movie “Killing Winston Jones,” which stars Richard Drefyuss, Danny Masterson, Danny Glover and Jon Heder. Harvey was featured in 15 episodes of the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”


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