Tate Andersen, a 13-year old from Keizer, plays the lead role of Daniel O'Malley in New Shepherd Films production of The 211 Home (Submitted).

COVID-19 has caused the movie industry to nearly come to a standstill over the last nine months. However, small-budget studios have been able to continue production in the midst of a pandemic, and one independent, low-budget film used Keizer as one of its primary filming locations.

The 211 Home, a new movie from New Shepherd Films, used locations such as Volcanoes Stadium and Keizer City Hall to film their production earlier this fall.

Jim Huggins, the president and CEO of New Shepherd Films, and the director of The 211 Home, expressed his appreciation to the city of Keizer for their support.

“This has been a difficult process during COVID-19 but we have had phenomenal support from Mayor (Cathy) Clark and others in the community,” Huggins said. “We are thrilled that Keizer is a part of this.”

The 211 Home is a story about 13-year old Daniel O'Malley, a youngster who loves baseball, but hates the gift that he just received, a raggedy, worn-out glove from his grandfather. O'Malley's frustration at the unfairness of life boils over after realizing the ridicule he will receive from his teammates and friends. But as the story goes on, he begins to learn about the importance of being selfless and respecting his elders.

The film won an award for Best Family Screenplay at the Marina del Rey Film Festival.

Even though baseball is one of the main themes surrounding the film, Huggins says that this really isn't a sports movie.

“The movie is really about the impact of respect and relationships,” Huggins said.

New Shepherd Films is an independent, faith-based film production company that focuses on providing family-friendly entertainment. While The 211 Home, is a Christian-based movie, Huggins says that his productions are not like other films produced by faith-based studios

“We tell faith and family stories but we tell them differently. We don’t want our films to beat you over the head with scripture,” Huggins said.

New Shepherd Films began in Massachusetts and moved to Salem in 2014.

“The Northwest is a great place to film. You can make it look like a lot of other places on the planet,” Huggins said. “There is also a wealth of local talent here.”

Much of the local talent featured in The 211 Home comes from Keizer actors, including 13-year old Tate Andersen, who plays the lead role.

“It was a lot of fun. I loved being on set and interacting with everyone,” Andersen said. “At the beginning of the movie, my character is mischievous and self-centered and always wants to get his way. But later on he begins to see his selfishness, and wants to spend more time with his family.”

Andersen had minimal acting experience going into his audition, which is why he was hesitant to try out for the part, but after a push from his family he decided to go for it.

“At first, I didn't want to try out because it was out of my comfort zone but my mom and my sisters encouraged me to audition,” Andersen said. “I was shocked when I found out I got the part.”

“This was Tate's first experience in acting and landing a lead role in a feature film and it was quite an experience for this young man. A genuine pleasure to work with, he was well prepared everyday,” Huggins added.

Andersen auditioned for the role in January, but due to COVID-19, filming didn't begin until October. Attempting to shoot a movie amidst a pandemic was taxing to say the least, but Huggins and his crew were resilient through the process.

“The guidelines are really strict. We have had to minimize our crew and maintain closed, private sets. “It’s been a huge challenge, but we have been able to overcome,” Huggins said.

During the scenes filmed at Volcanoes Stadium, a number of McNary Youth Baseball (MYB) players were used as extras.

“Kids were pretty pumped to be part of a movie. It was definitely exciting for them,” MYB president Bo Lane said.

New Shepherd Films is planning to release The 211 Home on digital platforms in Spring 2021 and hopes to have the DVD available by next Christmas.

“It's a heartfelt movie that teaches a good lesson,” Andersen said.