A pair of Cincinnati area natives will be filming a short film ― which could be expanded into a feature film or series ― at a church in Hamilton this summer.
The production of “Just Peachy” is the latest in a long line of filmmakers deciding to use Hamilton as the backdrop to all or parts of their movie.
“Just Peachy” will be produced by E414 Productions, which is owned by the film’s co-star Brittany Mcvicker, whose mom and maternal grandparents were from Butler County’s capital city. She will also be making her directorial debut with the project.
Mcvicker, who grew up in the Kenwood area, will film at a Hamilton church, which she’s not yet naming as it will be a closed set. Filming is scheduled to begin in mid-July.
She and her co-star Grace Balbo were back in Cincinnati because of the Writers Guild of America strike, so the timing aligned and they moved forward on the project. Mcvicker said she wanted this project “to truly inspire people” as they had tried to figure out what they could do creatively amid the strike.
“Honestly, without the strike, this (project) probably would have never happened,” she said. “It’s allowed me to have time to go home to Cincinnati.”
“Just Peachy” is a film about a young girl who is struggling with mental health, and she is at her wit’s end. She goes into psychiatric care, and upon her release, the main character, Hope, “goes on a journey of faith, hope, and healing.”
“When things in life happen, things seem just peachy on the outside, but you never know what you never really know what your neighbor’s going through, and it kind of explores that space,” Mcvicker said.
Co-star Balbo, who grew up in Cincinnati, appeared in the films “Oak” and the Ted Bundy movie “Extremely Wicked, Shocking Evil and Vile,” which was filmed about five years ago in the Cincinnati area and Hamilton and starred Zac Effron.
The film will also be backed by Bollywood filmmaker Milroy Goes, who’s known for films like “Welcome M1LL1ONS,” which qualified for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2018.
Mcvicker said she has worked with the Bollywood film industry in India, and said it’s “cool to bring Hamilton to another country and really showcase the community. It’s kind of exciting to make Hamilton worldwide.”
The actress has a number of projects in post-production, including a cameo in the original series “Patel Motel,” on the streaming service CPics, which specializes in South Asian film and TV, and has a starring role in the Lifetime movie “Secrets of a Celebrity Nanny.”
Mcvicker said she had always wanted to do inspirational and faith-based projects, and when this opportunity came up, she and Balbo were like, ‘Let’s do something.’ We want to make it really good quality and really just showcase the area.”
And no better place than in southwest Ohio, their hometown.
“The Cincinnati area was just the best, obvious choice,” Mcvicker said.
Hamilton was even better as it had personal roots for Mcvicker, whose grandparents, the late Judy and Robert Unthank, lived in the city most of their lives, and her mom, the late Lisa Mcvicker, was born and raised in Butler County’s capital city. Her dad, Michael Mcvicker, was born and raised in Cincinnati.
Because of the flexibility of today’s remote world, Mcvicker said towns like Hamilton are getting looked at more and more for film projects, which makes for a better movie.
“There’s so much charm,” she said. “You could build a set, but when it’s so authentic, especially with what we’re trying to do, it can really bring that element of authenticity, and you can get people in the neighborhood involved and excited. It’s pretty cool.”