Haven's new season puts Chester in the spotlight
Stephen King's television show shooting double season in Nova Scotia this year
The village of Chester is producing a double dose of Stephen King's horror show Haven this year, with the first batch beaming into televisions now.
The community on the South Shore of Nova Scotia stands in for the fictional Maine town of Haven for the fifth season, premiering this month on Showcase. Shooting happens in Chester as well as in Lunenburg.
Residents of Haven possess supernatural powers and die on a weekly basis — while residents of Chester are celebrating a boom in local work fuelled by about $28 million in spending on the production.
Great for Nova Scotia actors and crews
"Not only for the crew, but all the local actors — for us to have a chance to work in our own backyard is amazing," said Molly Dunsworth.
The Nova Scotian actress plays Vickie on the show. Her character debuted in the first season and returned in the fourth and fifth seasons. Five of the seven principal actors are Canadian, two — Richard Donat and John Dunsworth — are from Nova Scotia.
"I've been getting fan mail lately from Germany," she said. "I'll get letters from people who are Haven-obsessed."
Dunsworth said the show, which screens in 180 countries to two million people, has made a big difference.
"It's amazing for Nova Scotia have this here," she said.
Dunsworth is among the 130 cast and crew, nearly all local, who have been putting in 12-hour days since April.
The show gets a 60 per cent labour tax credit. It spends about $14 million a year. Haven will shoot a double season this year, wrapping in Halifax in December.
Double season bringing in $28M
"It will be double that this year. There will be $26 to $28 million that will be spent entirely in Nova Scotia, on Nova Scotia goods and services," said David MacLeod, the executive producer of Big Motion Pictures.
Chester sees about $1 million a year in spinoffs as the production company rents storefronts and schools. The village's arena becomes a studio during shooting.
"They spend $90,000 just for gas; $150,000 on groceries and food. It's extremely significant," said Allan Webber, the warden for the area.
Businesses offering accommodation and food also do well.
"They don't work every single day, so they'll come here and they'll have family staying and want to take them out to dinner, so they will come eat with me," said Nicki Butler, who runs Nicki’s Inn.
Haven is based on King's novel, The Colorado Kid.