Kentucky may seem far away from Hollywood in both geography and lifestyle, but the state's products have often made it on film, and several Kentucky businesses are routinely in demand by filmmakers.
Kentucky is a great resource for directors making period films because "we have one of the oldest craft organizations in the country — the Kentucky Guild of Artists & Craftsmen, who are celebrating their 50th year this year," said Gwen Heffner, spokeswoman for Berea's Kentucky Artisan Center. The center showcases the work of more than 650 artisans around the state.
One of them is Candle Bee Farm owner Heidi Sanner. Sanner's work was featured in Robert Redford's 2010 film The Conspirator, which tells the story of a woman charged with being part of the conspiracy to assassinate Kentucky native Abraham Lincoln.
The film's producers used Sanner's beeswax candles that she makes using old-fashioned methods and organic beeswax from her own bees.
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"It is amazing to consider the preparation involved with this movie," Sanner said. "Every detail was given focus, right down to the authenticity of period-appropriate 100 percent beeswax candles."
Sanner noted the candles burn five times longer than other waxes, making them able to stand long hours of filming.
Lexington artisan Harriett Giles found her work on film in Dreamer, a 2005 equine movie starring Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning that was filmed in the area.
Giles, who owns the hand-woven rug company The Weavery, was approached at the Woodland Art Fair by the film's art director, who acquired a 6-foot by 9-foot rug.
"It was a horse story, so they were looking for items that would have been typical for a Kentucky farmhouse," Giles said. "I happened to fit the bill."
Giles, who has been in business for 30 years and had her rugs featured in Country Living magazine, said she never thought of seeing her work on film one day.
"Mostly I weave rugs for interior designers or the public," she said.
Other Kentucky artisans and their businesses are more accustomed to Hollywood appearances.
Phil Phillips of Paducah was contracted through his company, Dixie Leather Works, to provide leather props for the long-running television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman starring Jane Seymour. Phillips' props have been used in more than 40 films and by production companies including DreamWorks.
Richard N. Henson, another Western Kentuckian, also provided props for Dr. Quinn. The third-generation broom maker, who lives in Symsonia, made brooms as well for the Martha Stewart Living TV show.
Heffner said that examples of these artists can regularly be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center, where they are available for purchase.
"We have talented people in our state," Heffner said. "The center is a help with information as well as an opportunity to see the artists and their work."