By Amber Jurgensen | Staff Writer
Friday began as a normal day at Neumeister’s Candy Shoppe for employee and building owner Julie Young. She made sure the temperature was a solid 70 degrees, attended to customers and managed the store.
Then, she got an interesting call.
Academy Award-winning director Cynthia Wade was in town from New York City to film a documentary about a Plant City resident with a rare liver disease. In one interview, the resident said the effects of the disease on the ability to talk was like pulling taffy apart.
The film crew asked if Neumeister’s made taffy so they could illustrate the subject’s point.
Young immediately called owner Glenn Nicholas.
“Right when Julie called me, I came over and tried to figure out how to do what they were asking,” Nicholas said.
Although he doesn’t make taffy, Nicholas makes many things at Neumeister’s from scratch, such as chocolate turtles and caramel. He began experimenting with taffy, treating it the same way he does caramel. He figured out a way to melt the taffy mixture and then knead it to the right consistency.
Once Nicholas, his daughter, Taylor, and Young got a good feel for the taffy, Wade visited the candy shop.
“They brought props, bubble wrap, camera equipment — you name it,” Nicholas said.
The film crew and Wade got their hands dirty playing with the taffy to figure out how it stretched. The film crew also was inspired by all the different plastic chocolate molds pinned to a wall in the back of the store. They played around with the light that reflected through the molds to make an abstract background.
“(They were) things we never thought of,” Nicholas said.
On Saturday morning, two of the members of the film crew, Bill Dunkle and Pete Mychalcewycz, returned to shoot at Neumiester’s. They taped bubble wrap to a glass window, placed a red film filter over the bubble wrap and shined a light through on one side. This created an abstract background that resembled red sequins. In front of the background, they stretched the taffy and pulled it apart.
“It does perfectly illustrate what someone in the interview is talking about,” Nicholas said.
“I had some extra time and thought I would try out this experimental shot,” Mychalcewycz said.
It took about an hour to get a 30-second shot that may or may not be used in the documentary.
The untitled documentary is going to be about 15 to 30 minutes long and involves two different production companies and a pharmaceutical company that wants to raise awareness about a particular liver disease. The film crew would not disclose the name of the subject.
Plant City was the last stop before the crew returned to New York. The crew made stops before in Sacramento, Calif.; Tenafly, N.J.; and Woodward, Okla., where the crew filmed other family interactions and B-roll. In all, the crew shot 60 to 80 hours of video in two weeks.
The documentary is scheduled to be released to the public in late October.
For more information on Cynthia Wade, visit cynthiawade.com.
Contact Amber Jurgensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.