By Jim Newell
Lake Orion has succumbed to the spell of The Nain Rouge.
Since last summer, Kyyba Films has been shooting scenes for Devil’s Night: Dawn of the Nain Rouge in various locales throughout the Orion area.
More than a hundred people attended a meet-and-greet April 5 at the Orion Center, getting a preview of the film’s trailer and hearing from producers, the director and actors about what it was like to film in Lake Orion.
Lake Orion Village Council President Ken VanPortfliet and Manager Joe Young presented Kyyba Films President and Chief Operating Officer Tel Ganesan and Director Sam Logan Khaleghi with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the village.
“The Village of Lake Orion is honored to participate in your most recent film ‘Devils Night: Dawn of the Nain Rouge’ and for highlighting many Lake Orion Businesses and community assets in the movie. In addition, it is with great pride that our own Lake Orion Police Department is well portrayed and central to the success of the story. We are pleased that you chose the Village of Lake Orion to be the focus of this cinematic adventure,” the certificate reads, in part.
The film is set in a fictional Lake Orion, with scenes shot in Detroit, Pontiac and Lake Orion.
Khaleghi used dozens of Orion area extras during several scenes for the film. The Lake Orion Police Department is featured prominently in the film, with 13 real police officers adding their authenticity to the production.
Ganesan said Kyyba Films will premiere the movie at the Cannes Film Festival in France in May, and then have premiers in India and locally.
Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh has a prominent role in the film as Lake Orion Police Chief Anthony Romano. Narsh also served as police consultant on the film, helping the actors move and tactically respond to situations like police would in real life.
Lead actress Jesi Jensen plays Billy Jean Finnick, a Lake Orion Police Officer and military veteran who investigates when mysterious, deaths began occurring in Lake Orion in a supernatural case shrouded by urban myth and legend.
Jensen donned the Lake Orion police uniform and during her training with Narsh was often mistaken for an actual Lake Orion police officer while at local restaurants and businesses.
Detroit native Grover McCants plays Detroit Detective Nightingale, Billy Jean’s former military commander and mentor who helps with the case.
Actors Nate Kane Mathers and Ammar Nemo play undercover Lake Orion police officers who help investigate the case.
Istvan Lettang is the film’s cinematographer and actor Bobby Laenen, had multiple roles on the film – as Ellis, Jensen’s love interest, assistant director and special effects coordinator.
Members of VFW Post 334 played military veterans for a military funeral scene at the cemetery, and Veteran Ernie Baker is one of the angry townspeople during a scene shot in the council chambers at Village Hall.
Councilmembers Bradley Mathieson, Doug Hobbs and Shauna Brown also are in the Village Hall scene as…councilmembers. Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett has a cameo as an Orion Township firefighter.
American Legion Post 233 in downtown Lake Orion served as the backdrop for one scene, while the climactic scene of the movie was filmed at the Ehman Center in the village.
The film, described as a horror/police thriller, is based on a Detroit legend. The Nain Rouge, French for “red dwarf,” is a mythical creature said to haunt the Detroit area. The Ottawa tribe originally believed it was a protector of the area, but later it was feared by the inhabitants of the city as a “harbinger of doom.”
Khaleghi hopes to have a premier locally in late spring, with limited release in Imagine Theaters until the movie finds a distributor, at which time it then later become available on DVD and Blue-Ray.
Check for film updates, including information on screening dates, at www.facebook.com/NainRougeFilm.