MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) — It's lights... camera... action in Northeast Wisconsin. One crew is filming a movie in Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Belgium.
This week, a former school building turned into a Hollywood-like set.
"We go through an emotional roller coaster in the film as our older teenage daughter has disappeared," writer Dave Payton said. "In the beginning of the movie, we had this perfect life."
Based on his book, Payton is acting as a pastor in the feature film 'Through Eyes of Grace,' which is partially shot at the defunct McKinley Academy.
"I want it to be as real as possible," he said.
"As an actor, especially with some of the sadness that we have to go through with this kind of story, there's a level of vulnerability that we have to be able to reach," Amanda Kristin Cox, who plays Payton's wife, said.
"Location wise, it takes place in Oostburg," actor Kurt Krauss said. "But we've also had new filming locations in Sheboygan and here in Manitowoc."
Krauss is born and raised in Door County. He plays the sheriff.
"I've been head of the Oostburg PD for a number of years or the sheriff's department," he said. "It's really cool being back here in Manitowoc because for a number of years, I performed with university theatre in Manitowoc. Also, Capitol Civic Centre."
The Christian thriller includes former Saturday Night Live cast member Victoria Jackson and American Idol participant Franki Moscato.
"From physical attributes to natural beauty to acting talent, it's like 'come film in Wisconsin,'" Krauss said.
Around 60 people are involved in the movie, many from across the United States.
"The sense of community is huge," actor and producer Katelin Stack said. "To have that sense of community with something that you love is beautiful."
"It's nice because, with small communities, there's always people that wanna pitch in and help out," director Michael Thomas Determan said.
The filming portion wraps up in the next week, and the release date is scheduled for 2023.
"My hope is that people continue to see Wisconsin as a very film-friendly state," Krauss said.