Former Maple Lake Mayor Mike O’Loughlin is no stranger to the film industry. As a longtime actor, he had often heard producers saying, “Boy, we wish we could get bigger films in Minnesota like we used to.”
A different discussion with the makers of “After the Dawn” led Maple Lake to be part of the solution.
“When I auditioned for “After the Dawn,” I asked if they’d like to film it here,” O’Loughlin said. “She said, ‘Shoot me some pictures.’ I did and she said it may work.”
“We didn’t really have anything to shoot there,” director and actress Nicole Kruex, of TRIWAR Pictures, said.
But O’Loughlin urged Kruex and her colleagues to give it a shot. They took him up on his offer, ultimately deciding to reshoot about half the film in Maple Lake, rather than driving more than two hours to Shell Lake, Wis., where the scenes were originally filmed.
“When we saw Maple Lake, it had the same feel,” Kruex said. “It was only missing a few things, but it also had things Shell Lake did not, like a bowlingtalley, baseball stadium and H & H Sport Shop. We rewrote a few things to fit Maple Lake, like substituting the flower shop for a café. … It has a small-town feel, but it’s not so far from Minneapolis.”
O’Loughlin was encouraged by the positive response.
“I said, ‘If they liked it, maybe someone else would,’” O’Loughlin recalled. So, he lobbied his colleagues on the Maple Lake City Council for as much as a 30 percent re-
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