Nonprofit org offers ranch to filmmakers

Some locations have as much heart as they do cinematic appeal. The Grace Foundation’s ranch facility in El Dorado Hills, about 30 miles east of Sacramento, Calif., is one of those.

The nonprofit animal rescue foundation offers filmmakers access to a ranch location that is used for the rehabilitation of abused and abandoned horses. The tax-deductible fees charged for filming on the ranch are used to support the foundation’s animal rescue efforts as well as its programs to help at-risk and abused kids.

The Grace Foundation’s innovative program was highlighted by El Dorado County film commissioner Kathleen Dodge in her booth at the AFCI Location Trade Show in Santa Monica last month.

The El Dorado Hills facility is composed of two ranches sitting on more than 600 acres of rolling hills, as well as rugged terrain with ponds and creek. It’s home to more than 100 horses, and it also gives filmmakers ready access to props, wranglers, livestock and other equipment. The foundation has a long-term lease, at $1 a year, to use the property.

Screenwriters usually cringe when asked to do a rewrite, but Alex Greenfield, the writer of a recent Hallmark Channel telepic, “The Wilderness Family,” was more than willing to change the storyline of the movie to incorporate the ranch and its purpose, according to Beth DeCaprio, CEO and founder of the Grace Foundation.

Horses ridden by the actors were pros, while the animals used as background “extras” were ranch residents — a bottom line production benefit.

“It’s a great human-interest side to the business,” said DeCaprio.

With the economic downturn, the ranch’s animal rescue services have been more in demand than ever. It’s become home to numerous dogs and cats as well as its mainstay of horses, cows, goats and sheep.

Additionally, more than 6,000 children, including at-risk and abused youth, have attended Grace Foundation’s youth-oriented classes. Equine-assisted learning programs are offered to help children develop practical skills and to promote social and emotional growth. One such program, Pony Town, has proven especially helpful for children with autism.

For more information on the Grace Foundation, go to http://www.ReelRanches.com

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