Southwest Wisconsin will star in an online commercial, though most viewers probably won’t know that.
A film crew shot scenes for the commercial for OnStar Guardian on a Mifflin farm Friday, the second day of shooting in this part of the state.
The shoot took place in front of the farm of Gene Smith on Iowa County X in the Town of Mifflin.
“They liked the lay of the land and the slope of the township road and also the beautiful farmland leading gently uphill to the farm buildings,” said Smith, who was told only to “keep farm machinery off the grass lining the farm lane as we were harvesting first-crop hay the week of the shooting. I fenced it off.”
The film crew started shooting Thursday at Devils Lake State Park near Baraboo and the historic Wisconsin 130 bridge near Lone Rock. After shooting in Mifflin Friday the crew moved to another picturesque spot, Fred’s Drive in Ridgeway.
The locations were chosen by Nicholas Langholff, a Wisconsin native who has been working to promote Wisconsin as a film location most of his professional career. The independent filmmaker formerly was involved with American Players Theatre in Spring Green, helped create a Wisconsin-centered film festival, and owned two video stores.
Langholff, who lives in Mineral Point, began producing commercials a decade ago. That got him working with such Wisconsin celebrities as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for Ford Trucks and State Farm Insurance, former head coach Mike McCarthy for Cellcom cellphone service, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for Nike. He also has produced commercials for Culver’s restaurants, Focus on Energy and the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin focusing on cheese plants.
Langholff has been lining up “the right types of locations they were looking for” for commercials and other productions — locations that are scenic though not necessarily identifiable as being in Wisconsin. He has produced seven Harley–Davidson commercials in Iowa County,
“The area really lends itself to different opportunities,” he said.
Langholff started working with Rodgers early in the quarterback’s career.
“He got to know everybody’s first name, and the other thing was he really wanted to know everybody did,” said Langholff. “He liked the fact he got to know the same people and work with the same people.”
As for Antetokounmpo, Langhoff was impressed with his sense of family. He brought his mother to early shoots, and now brings his children to shoots. One commercial required Langholff to pick up a pair of shoes and deliver them to Antetokounmpo’s house due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The OnStar Guardian service is a variation of the roadside assistance service installed in General Motors vehicles. OnStar Guardian is the OnStar service installed on a compatible cellphone. The focus of the commercial was OnStar’s ability to help the lost driver — in this case, a motorcycle owner — in unfamiliar scenery.
“I saw an incredible group of very high class professionals who were respectful of myself and the site who worked very hard with impressive teamwork to get a high-quality project completed,” said Smith. “After they left to move on to another site you wouldn’t have know they were ever here.”