WESTON, Mo. — The City of Weston is headed to the big screen, sort of.
Filming of a feature film, entitled “Different Flowers,” took place in the downtown area earlier this month, with the historic city standing in for a fictional Midwestern small town. A native of Kansas City, Los Angeles-based Morgan Dameron came home this summer after years of working on big-budget blockbusters to pursue her dream project.
During location scouting, Dameron and her crew singled out Weston as one of her hometown area locations for shooting. Scenes were also shot in the Country Club Plaza, McGonigle’s Market in south Kansas City and at a farm in Baldwin City, Kan.
In June, Dameron raised more than $70,000 with the help of more than 500 backers on the crowdsourcing site Kickstarter.
After recruiting a crew of Los Angeles and Kansas City filmmakers, and with help from Kansas City’s newly minted Film Office, Dameron cast Emmy winner Shelley Long, Emma Bell of The Walking Dead and Hope Lauren of Supergirl for the project.
Different Flowers tells the story of two sisters — played by Bell and Lauren — who ditch out on one sister’s wedding to road trip across the Midwest to their grandmother’s farm. Long plays the grandmother.
Billed as part comedy of errors, part family drama and part road trip movie, Dameron said Different Flowers is also a love letter to the heartland.
Shooting in Weston took place at The Rumpled Nest and at a closed storefront across Main Street, which the production staff dressed up as Dolly’s Pies.
Dameron, who both wrote and directs Different Flowers, and producer David Karp attended the Weston Board of Aldermen meeting in July to receive their approval, both citing the town’s charm as the major draw.
“It means so much to me that we’re here; we’re here where I grew up,” Dameron said in a recent message to her supporters. “We really couldn’t tell this story anywhere else. It would be a completely different movie.”
A graduate of Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Mo., Dameron attended the University of Southern California film school and cut her teeth at the top of Hollywood. Her most recent gig as an assistant to Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams earned her a namesake character — rebel pilot Poe Dameron.
Now Dameron has come home and made the shoot a family affair. Her siblings work on set, as assistants, photographers and extras with her parents helping to handle scheduling and media requests. It’s made the shoot a close-knit experience, Karp said.
Karp, also of Los Angeles, said his entire experience in Missouri — his first trip to the Midwest — has been a singular one.
“Everyone is so nice to us,” Karp said. “If you need one thing, people keep asking if you need anything else. ‘Do you want a drink? ‘Are you hungry?’ It’s not what we’re used to in LA.”
In early August, the film crew closed a portion of Main Street in Weston with the help of the Weston Police Department.
During shooting, a loud jackhammer started somewhere in the near distance. Locating the source of the sound, Karp said not only did the property owner agree to delay his landscaping project, he also offered them chickens for their shoot.
Coincidentally, the crew did need chickens, but opted to rent the birds under the observation of ASPCA monitors. Yet, Karp said, it was the thought that counts.
“The people of Weston and the city staff have been so gracious and helpful,” Karp said. “It’s really been great.”
Dameron hopes to take the film on the independent festival circuit in an effort to gain larger exposure for her work.