BELEN — The Hub City is once again going to find itself in the background.
Late last week, members of the production crew and location scouts for a television show in pre-production were roaming the city of Belen looking for some prime real estate to film a new television series.
Kim Graham, the owner of Belen-based production company What Are The Odds, brought Brenden Fehr, one of the show’s executive producers to Belen to find locations that evoked just the right small-town vibe.
The show, “Behind The Yellow House,” is based on the true story of a New Mexico cult, a group of witches, that still exists and practices to some extent to this day, Fehr said.
“The show tells the story of Maggie, this young girl who is the chosen one. She is raised by her grandmother, who is the leader of the cult,” Fehr said.
The woman’s story is filled with dark rituals and abuse, ranging from human sacrifice to incest, he said, but she manages to escape and thrive.
“There are a lot of dark things in this show, things she was thrust into, but she escaped,” he said.
Fehr, who is best known for his role as Michael Guerin in the original “Roswell” TV series that ran from 1999 to 2002, will play a small role in the new show, that of Sheriff Brown.
“He’s investigating this cult, so he’s on the outside and really doesn’t know what’s going on,” Fehr said. “It’s a small town with a lot of secrets.”
While the show is based on a true story of a cult in New Mexico, and the woman known as Maggie is collaborating with creators, Fehr was clear it wasn’t about Belen.
“This happened in the late 1960s and we’re looking for locations that still evoke that era,” he said. “Projects with bigger budgets can just build a set. We need places that already have that look or can be achieved with a few changes.”
While they were in town, the group visited H.T. Jaramillo School and the Belen Police Department as possible filming locations.
Fehr said they really liked Belen’s “look.”
“It’s smaller, has more of a community feel, where everybody knows everybody else,” he said. “Other places might have something similar but there are tall buildings and have an urban feel.”
While the show will delve into the dark rituals and abuse that happened in the woods “behind the yellow house,” Fehr said he wants it to serve as a source of help to people experiencing abuse and other situations.
At the end of every show, there will be information and resources about sex trafficking and child abuse, he said.
“We want to provide resources to people experiencing these things. We’d like the show to do some good,” Fehr said.
Graham said she’s very excited to have the show film in Belen.
“I really want to highlight the positive things we’re doing here,” she said.
The show doesn’t have a distributor yet, Fehr said, so right now it’s a group of creative people coming together to bring the project to life.
“It’s a great story that does need to be told,” he said. “Artists and creative people don’t do well sitting around.
“The woman Maggie is based on, she went through some dark things. She came out of it one of the most positive and happiest people I know. There’s a lot of darkness to this show but, in the end, it’s all about the triumph of the human spirit.”
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.