For those in Yukon, a family friendly film set to release in 2021 might look a little familiar.
“Joey and Ella” follows the adventures of a little girl and her new friend, a talking baby kangaroo that was separated from her mother in a jewelry heist.
“It was important for us to find a picturesque barn with a farmhouse attached,” said producer Zeus Zamani.
When Zamani and his production partner Brian Vilim came across Blose Barn and Garden, located on the outskirts of Yukon, they knew they’d found their shooting location.
“This site plays for Ella’s granddad. It features quite heavily in the movie, both in the beginning and toward the end as well, so it was important to find a picturesque location,” Zamani said.
Owner Don Blose, CEO of Spanish Cove Retirement Village, said they were first contacted by Zamani’s production company, Ari Production LLC, several months ago.
“We got a call on the business line from someone who said they were a movie producer,” Blose said, laughing. “At first, we thought it was a con artist.”
But Blose and his wife, Julie, decided to look into Zamani and Ari Production.
“We called the Oklahoma Department of Tourism, and they said the guy was totally legit, so we called him back,” Blose said.
Zamani said Blose and his family were exceptionally accommodating and flexible throughout the process, which included shots of the house where the family currently lives.
“Film shoots are intrusive,” Zamani said. “We were here 14 hours a day, with a crew of somewhere between 30 and 40 people. We spent three or four days in the barn.”
Filming at the Blose property wrapped up early Thursday, Blose said.
“It’s been an awesome experience, I will say,” Blose said. “The company has been absolutely stellar. They restored everything exactly to the way it was (before filming).”
Even better, Blose and his family were invited onto the sets to see the work being done, he said.
COVID-19 was on the minds of everyone during the shoot, Zamani said. Anyone coming onto the property was required to wear a mask and have their temperature checked, and the number of people on set at a time was reduced.
“There was a learning curve with COVID-19, but we implemented a lot of protocols following the guidelines from the Oklahoma Film Commission,” Zamani said.
The Blose property was not the only Oklahoma location being used in “Joey and Ella,” Zamani said. Filming also took place in Guthrie and Oklahoma City.
“Joey and Ella” doesn’t have a release date yet, but Zamani expected the movie would be available some time in 2021.
As for Blose and his family, the experience brought a little piece of Hollywood to their home.
“I was asking my wife to rate the experience between a one and a 10, and she said a 10, absolutely. It’s the same with me,” Blose said. “We couldn’t go to the movies because of the pandemic – but the movies came to us.”