BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – FACT-TV Channel 8, the public access TV station in Bellows Falls, is shooting the second year of episodes in its locally produced TV series “Strange Happenings at the Vilas Bridge.” Four school age adolescents collaborate to unravel the mystery of the demon Malthumas and the legend of the two lovers and the rope bridge among other unusual happenings.
The first series of episodes subtitled “Promise” aired last season and had a premier showing at the Bellows Falls Opera House last fall. Producer and director Ales Stradling says the episodes currently being shot will premier at the Opera House around Halloween, and they will air on the station and on social media after that.
The strange happenings refer to a curse on the town and unexplained phenomena at the closed down bridge that once connected downtown Bellows Falls to North Walpole. Stradling says that more than a horror type story with paranormal happenings, it is a coming-of-age drama involving the kids as they unravel the mystery of the curse.
The script is written by Stradling, Mike Smith, and Kevin O’Connor who plays Officer Dan, one of the adult leads. Scenes have been shot all around town including the closed bridge, the Rockingham Public Library, Miss Bellows Falls Diner, the lobby of the Rockingham Medical Center, and various interiors and other outside shots. Five school age adolescents have major roles. They are Andrew Malshuk, Kara Lescord, Dan Gabry, Colin Kimbal, and Ian Gould. Malshuk, who has worked in various positions with the station says, “I definitely learned a lot more about all the specifics that go into it, like scouting locations and making sure we have all the shots we need.” Adults in the scenes were recruited from the local community theater groups.
Stradling says it is hard to find people. He got his sister-in-law to play one of the small parts at the diner at the last moment. He also noted the dedication of “the kids” who cleaned out the results of long animal occupation in an old sugar shack used for one of the scenes. Stradling says, “It’s hard to pull off horror effectively,” but “Bellows Falls is such a great location to film in… you don’t need a lot of set dressing” with locations such as the old diner. A third season will be shot next year. Contact Stradling at FACT–TV for more information at 802-463-1613.