For around a century now, Humboldt County has been the backdrop of numerous feature films, as big as ET and Star Wars. Our Victorian architecture, redwoods and rivers lure film productions who energize our economy while they stay and shop. This last fiscal year about 17 productions came up to shoot projects in our region. Some, are repeat costumers. Helping these crews have a productive stay in Humboldt and Del Norte counties is Cassandra Hesseltine’s main goal, a goal that helps bring thousands of dollars into our local economy. Some of these funds are “direct dollars” pertaining to the production needs (hotels, cars, gas) but in addition to those, the “indirect dollars” are said to be about three times more and include money that crews spend in their free time (shopping, bars, restaurants).

Humboldt & Del Norte Film Commission markets our area to film producers, educates local vendors on becoming “film Friendly”, and help film productions while they film in the area. “Essentially, I help connect the dots and mediate between the big film production crew and the county, property owners, vendors, ect.,” said Hesseltine. The Film Commission also works with commercials, TV series, and print media campaigns. The Film Commission services are free of charge and the organization gets its funding by local municipalities and visitors bureaus.

In addition to not denying nor confirming the presence of various film starts in the area, Hesseltine has attracted the attention of the press, recently, when a new film ordinance was about to be adopted by the Board of Supervisors earlier this year.  This ordinance, which is a State mandate, regulates filming permits and gives the film commissioner the power to stop productions when our local resources are in danger. Students and other small local commercial producers are happy to know that they are probably exempt from permits if their production has very low impact on the community. According to Hesseltine, if you need to raise a crane at Arcata Plaza, you probably need a permit but if you’re filming indoor “washing dishes”, don’t worry about it.

Hesseltine’s busy days encompass not only her work with the Film Commission but also her love for theater and her family. Ten years in the film industry gave Hesseltine the insight into the needs of independent film crews. Her theater skills, which also aided her in advancing through the film industry, are honed to this day at Redwood Curtain Theater. Recently, Hesseltine had a leading role in Other Desert Cities. “My true passion in life is to act and direct,” said Hesseltine. ” And I love that I do it in small theater houses.”

Hesseltine enjoys her full life and loves living in Humboldt County.  She invites you to contact her if you know of any interesting locations, register on the Film Commission’s online service directory, and attend their Movies in the Park and Local Filmmakers Night events. In February, 2016, the Commission will celebrate a hundred-year anniversary at its Red Carpet Gala.

Visit or find the Film Commission on Facebook for more information.

To listen to and/or download Kathleen’s conversation with Tania Malik click the following link:  7-13-15 Lilach Assayag and Cassandra Hasseltine