Ethan Paisley

PRODUCER — Petaluma native Ethan Paisley is co-producing a film shot partially in Healdsburg.

Psychological thriller will have scenes filmed in town, Sonoma Coast

Correction: One of the filming locations is Camellia Inn, not the Madrona Manor.

A bit of Hollywood movie magic is coming to Healdsburg. 

Petaluma native, Ethan Paisley, is co-producing a psychological thriller set to be partially filmed in Healdsburg from Feb. 2 to Feb. 8.

The film titled “Fuzzy Head” follows the story of a girl who goes on the run after she thinks she’s killed her mother and must undergo painful childhood memories to uncover the truth.

Paisley, 19, said the film aims to address childhood trauma and how it can shape adults later in life. The film also addresses mental health and depression, and is partnering with Art of Elysium, a Los Angeles nonprofit that sends volunteer artists to work with individuals who may be going through an illness, mental illness or homelessness. 

“We want to destigmatize mental illness,” Paisley said.

Filming locations Paisley mentioned include, Camellia Inn, Salmon Creek and spots on the Sonoma coast. 

Paisley got in touch with Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce CEO Tallia Hart, and his team came to town for an initial location scouting trip — after that he knew Healdsburg would be a good place to film.

He said he chose Healdsburg and Northern California as a filming location because it evokes a sense of childhood wonder and nostalgia with the lush, untouched greenery and close-knit community feel.

“It is going to be an adventure,” Paisley said of filming. “There’ll be some significant scenes filmed here.”

Lead actors include an all-women trio: Wendy McColm, Alicia Kitt and Rain Phoenix.

“We have a really wonderful cast,” Paisley said.  

McColm is at the helm of the film as director, lead actor and co-producer. She is known for her work on “How I Met Your Mother.”

Paisley said the crew hopes to finish principal photography by Feb. 14, and then focus on post-production. He said he hopes the film will be ready for the Sundance Film Festival.

Paisley first got involved with the “Fuzzy Head” project when he learned that McColm, his friend, was going to take the lead on the film.

“Wendy and I have known each other for a year and it (the film) didn’t have a producer, so as a friend I stepped up,” he said.

When asked what the most fun part of the project has been so far, Paisley said getting to see words from the script finally come to life.

“It is cool… it is really a unique process,” he said.

So what can be the most challenging thing that people may not think about when it comes to the film industry?

Paisley explained that dealing with “imposter syndrome”and questioning whether a project or idea is too similar to what has already been done, can be challenging.

“People really doubt themselves … but you can really do anything,” he said.

Paisley, who attended Marin School of the Arts in Novato, first became interested in filmmaking and acting when he was 13.

“I wanted nothing more than to act,” he said.

Over the years he has worked on a variety of projects, mostly in the producer capacity, and has also worked with Paperchase Films. He is also credited with writing various shorts as well as some YouTube projects such as, “Victor’s Vengeance,” and “Playing the Game.”

He first gained countywide notoriety when he was 12-years-old after he created a YouTube spoof series about himself called, “ethanpaisley.” 

In 2017 he was nominated as one of Sonoma County’s “30 under 30. He is currently a film student at the Dodge College of Film and Media at Chapman University.

To learn about Paisley’s work visit: ethanpaisley.com

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