L.A. movie crew shoots short film in Auburn

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A rural Auburn home doubled as a New England house filled with angst and suffering on Monday. A Los Angeles-based film crew shot scenes for a 15-minute short titled "The Weight of It" that could eventually be spun into a full-length feature. For director Helen Alexis Yonov, a New Englander sporting a Boston Red Sox baseball hat on the set Monday, the film is a personal one -- with glimpses into her own relationship with her dying father. The story revolves around a young woman's return to her home and her father, who is dying from the effects of alcoholism. Yonov said the house itself -- owned by Diane and Dan Schafer -- turns out to be a character in "The Weight of It." "When my father got ill, the house fell apart," Yonov said. "There is so much beauty in this house but we also wanted to show there can be so much suffering." Yonov said she saw a "for sale" brochure for the North Auburn house while scouting locations and the Schafers were kind enough to provide it free of charge as a location. A cast and crew of 25 took over the house and 20-acre Schafer property starting Friday for exterior and interior shots. Producer Tara Tovarek said the film crew included several local hires, who proved to be talented and worked hard. Andrea Fellers, who also served as producer, said that it was refreshing to film in a locale away from Los Angeles. "You find that people there are jaded from so much filmmaking," she said. Plans are to show the 15-minute short film at festivals to pitch to backers for production of a feature-length movie. If that happens, Yonov said she'd like to return to Auburn to film it. The Journal's Gus Thomson can be reached at, or post a comment at