Media Life: Auburn’s picturesque bridge featured in new film

“Naedelei” earns debut spot in Sacramento International Film Festival
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Media Life columnist
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Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at

or (530) 852-0232.  


Director Dan Heflin’s new film takes a journey on a night train into a surreal world. And at some crucial junctures, it crosses the century-old Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge near Auburn.

A Christian Valley resident, Heflin describes the 30-minute “Naedelei” as a film that definitely has a local imprint. Shooting covered a total of 20 days in the Auburn and Nevada City areas.

“The way I’d describe it is that the majority of the scenic shots are done in Auburn, with the primary focus on No Hands Bridge (Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge’s nickname) and Lake Arthur, a small lake off Dry Creek Road,” Heflin said.

Heflin has enlisted some local acting talent as well, with Auburn’s Kristin Hunter and Edith Wenzel, portraying the lead role of the siren Naedelei and a book clerk, respectively. Meadow Vista’s Mark Hoffman plays a bar patron. Newcastle’s Pat and Chandler Cabot serve as extras.

“Naedelei” will make its debut at 3:45 p.m. April 27 as part of the Sacramento International Film Festival lineup. The screening is aboard the historic Delta King paddle wheeler tethered in Old Town Sacto.  

Germanic roots

Heflin said his plot inspiration comes from an old German folk legend that tells the tale of Lorelei, a siren of the Rhine River, who lured men to their doom.

The Foresthill Bridge was initially considered as the jumping off point for Nadelei’s victims but the picturesque Mountain Quarries rail bridge won out because of its rustic beauty, Heflin said. The added inducement of being able to film on a bridge that allows only foot (and hoof) traffic sealed the deal.

The plot involves a visitor to an old mining town who is swept into the legend as strange dreams begin to haunt his nights and the siren’s spell begins to beckon.

Besides being a key part of the filming behind the camera, Heflin - who has a music degree from San Jose State University - composed and produced a soundtrack that employs San Jose State University Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bryan Nies, and the school’s 38-member choir.

“Auburn is like a huge canvas for filming, with production values you just can’t buy,” Heflin said. “It’s not a built set - it’s what you have. It’s a perfect backdrop to set a film with fantasy and mythological characters.”

For more information on the film and tickets, check out the “Naedelei” website at

Team TV

Sacramento television is taking its message to the streets. KQCA My58 has announced the launch of its new Team My58 promotional street team.

According to KCRA/My58 creative services director Larry Kellogg, the station sifted through hundreds of applicants and chose five exceptional people to represent Channel 58 at community events around the region.

The five are being ID’d as Samantha, Ann, Dennis, Mike and Quincy in promotional materials. The group’s first gig presenting interactive games and prizes will be at the Stockton Asparagus Festival on April 26 and 27.

Already penciled in for upcoming months are Sacramento River Cats games, Downtown Sacramento’s Friday Night Concerts in the Park and the Downtown Sacramento ice rink later in the year. Promotions manager Jill Olsen told Media Life that the team will be generally concentrating on larger events. My58 is in the process of securing a full schedule of events for the team over the rest of the year, including visits to Auburn and other outlying coverage areas.

Olsen can be reached at or (916) 325-3264.

Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or (530) 852-0232.