Dover's City Hall and public library were used for scenes in an upcoming movie
It appears as if Dover is ready for its time in the spotlight.
A production crew from Philadelphia was in Dover Sunday, Jan. 8 shooting several scenes for an upcoming movie, “Jason’s Letter,” taking advantage of the early hours Sunday to film at the Dover Library and City Hall. The crew did some additional filming on Monday as well.
The film, which is written and directed by Terrance Tykeem of Diamond Mine Media Group out of Philadelphia, looks at the aftermath of a police shooting in an unnamed American city.
It stars Vivica A. Fox “Independence Day,” “Empire”), Quinton Aaron (“The Blind Side”), Michael Paré (“Gone”), and Nakia Dillard (“The Lovely Bones”).
It isn’t yet known if the film will be distributed over outlets such as HBO or Netflix or some other venue, or when it will be released.
Fox stars as the city’s mayor, and key scenes involving her and several city council members were shot inside Dover’s City Hall council chambers. Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and Councilman William Hare have non-speaking roles as councilman.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Christiansen said. “This could be the beginning of Dover’s film career.”
“This is great for the city,” said Hare, who admits his only prior acting role came in a high school play. “We got a lot of local business out of it and a lot of people have come in as extras.”
City officials only learned of Tykeem’s firm commitment to shoot in Dover last Tuesday, said spokeswoman Kay Sass.
“Someone who’s been in our council chambers asked [Tykeem] if he’d considered Dover,” Sass said. “So they came down and took some pictures and said they’d like to use it.”
As compensation, Diamond Mine agreed to make donations to several local charities, Sass said.
So as to not attract undue attention to the project, word of the filming was kept under wraps, with work set on Sunday when City Hall was closed and in the morning before the library opened.
Although several extras, those people who are seen in the background of main shots in a film, came from Philadelphia and northern Delaware, the scene inside Dover’s council chambers included several local residents, including Jacqueline Cameron.
“I think this is an exciting time for the city of Dover and I’m happy to be here experiencing it,” she said, sitting in one of the chamber’s front seats. “I’m here just for the fun, to see what it’s all about -- and for the craft services food table.”
Actress Loran Bolding was sitting nearby. She has two scenes in the film, playing Marge, a struggling aide to fictional Councilwoman Mary Katz.
“Marge’s father was a politician, but she’s a newbie to the political scene,” Bolding said. “But her father has passed away, and she wants to make him proud.”
Marge has her own reason for some angst while working for the demanding Katz.
“She screwed up, and wants to get on Mary’s good side,” Bolding said.
Dillard, who plays Uncle Tony, said he took on the project because of his concerns about police-involved shootings.
“We have to come up with a solution,” Dillard said, adding that he’s encouraged by the film’s central story of a young man’s suggestions on how to bring peace to his community.
Philadelphia native Jamol Manigault plays Jason McKey, the 12-year-old whose letter sparks a city’s conscience.
“Jason’s Letter” is Jamol’s second film.
“I feel very, very excited to get the chance to do this,” he said.
Bitten by the acting bug about four years ago, he remembers watching “Man of Steel,” and telling his mother, “I want to do that.”
“She asked me, ‘Are you sure?’ and I said, yes, that’s what I want to do.”
He’s now honing his craft at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, where he also plays drums and sings.
Jamol has big plans for his future.
“I’m hoping to be the next Denzel,” he said.