I was very happy to have the opportunity last week to screen a precious new movie that will be airing tonight, June 1st at 7:00 pm on UP TV. “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek” is a family-friendly film with a love story, a mystery, and lovable characters set in a picturesque atmosphere. It’s completely lacking in the “yuck factor” so often present on television these days. This is a film you can comfortably watch with your children!
In the heart of Ohio’s Amish country, Rachel Troyer is a tireless policewoman with serious overprotection issues. Worried about the health of her Amish aunts, Rachel convinces the trio of old women to retire from running the Sugar Haus, an inn they’ve owned for decades. When Joe, a penniless stranger, shows up on the Sugar Haus ‘ doorstep, Rachel’s aunts allow him to stay. Joe’s a charmer, but his reluctance to talk about his past raises Rachel’s suspicions. When Joe’s stay at the Sugar Hau extends into tenure as the inn’s handyman, Rachel employs her police training to uncover his secrets. What she discovers is more shocking than she ever expected!
I may be a bit biased, because this romantic drama stars not only Kelly McGillis and Sarah Lancaster, but also Tom Everett Scott who starred in one of my favorite movies, “That Thing You Do”. He’s back in this film with the same sense of charm that drew me to him in that role. I’ll definitely be tuning in again tonight to enjoy Love Finds You in Sugarcreek.
About the Movie:
Based on Serena B. Miller’s novel, Love Finds You in Sugarcreek was filmed in Holmes County, Ohio, with the majority of the filming taking place in Sugarcreek, Ohio, the heart of Amish country. Sugarcreek was originally settled by immigrants from Switzerland and Germany. With a population of just over 2,200, it has a rich blend of Swiss culture and Amish heritage, creating an experience all its own. With Swiss-style architecture, an annual Swiss festival and the world’s largest cuckoo clock, Sugarcreek is a top tourist destination for the state of Ohio. Produced by George Shamieh and Mission Pictures, filming took place in during the fall of 2013, which coincided with the same timeframe set by the novel. Terrence Cunningham directed the movie. Bryar Freed-Golden wrote the adapted screenplay.
To prepare for their respective roles in the film, the cast not only had to learn about the principles of being Amish, but also had to become familiar with the Amish dialect and the physicality of what it takes to live as part of the Amish community. During production, star Tom Everett Scott trained to use a scythe and he learned how to harness a horse and buggy.
“One of the most remarkable things about making this movie in Amish country is the experience of being immersed in the environment and the community itself,” said Director Terrence Cunningham. “The Amish community was so accommodating and it created a collaborative environment for us to be able to learn about their culture. It was really inspiring.”
The shooting in Ohio proved to be one of the most unique working environments for the film’s cast and crew. The location for the aunts’ “Sugar Haus Inn” is a very remote location, and one of the things the cast and crew noticed most about the location was the quiet stillness, incredible beauty of the sky, and particularly the formations the clouds made right before the start of the production day. While shooting at the Sugar Haus Inn location, Cunningham said he arrived to set early one morning and witnessing the clouds forming what he could only described an experience that felt like divine intervention.
The hospitality and help of the couple who live in the house was unsurpassed and became part of the fabric of the story. It was not unusual for production to stop filming in order to avoid capturing an Amish family passing by on horse and buggy, as most do not allow photographs or video to be taken of themselves.
The first day on set it poured rain, so production was forced to rework the shooting schedule to accommodate for the weather. They also chose to shoot scenes on site at a popular annual event – the Ohio Swiss Festival in Sugarcreek, where the “steintossen” was filmed. Steintossen is a German word meaning ‘stone tossing.’ It is a Swiss sport and attraction at popular festivals in Switzerland. According to locals, steintossen can only be seen in the U.S. at the Swiss Festival in Sugarcreek, held each year during the last weekend of September. Contestants hurl a huge stone weighing 138 pounds. There are cash prizes awarded to those contestants who throw the stone the longest distance. During filming at the Festival, several tourists and attendees mistook star Sarah Lancaster, who was dressed in her police uniform wardrobe, as an actual policewoman.
The inspiration for Miller’s novel, Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, came from a wooden plaque hanging in a bed and breakfast that author stayed at that read, “Entertaining Angels Unaware.” She developed an interest in the Amish and their culture when she moved to central Ohio. “Their work ethic is inspiring; they created jobs in that area where there were no jobs,” Miller said. “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio is a story that captures the integrity of the Amish people. I think what people will take away from this film is that no matter what difficulty in life the Amish community is facing, they manage to have goodness and love towards all people.” She added, “Sugarcreek is a safe place to go and people need safe places to go.”
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