'We Roll Out The Red Carpet': Nonprofit Donates Leftover Movie Set Furniture

WGBH Boston

When a film is made, sets are built and decorated to make a story seem real. And now in Massachusetts, when filming is done, those sets are having real-life impact, empowering people trying to rebuild their lives to design their own homes, free of charge.

Films start from nothing but an idea. If it's set in a home, walls need to be found or built. And the rooms need to be filled.

"Say we're decorating a dining room," explained Melissa Cooperman, a set decorator and buyer for films and commercials shot in Massachusetts. "We'll need a table, we'll need chairs, carpet, dishes, glasses, artwork for the wall, lighting, curtains, and window treatments."

When a film wraps, the producer needs to decide what to do with the accumulated stuff, often an abundance of home goods.

Cooperman worked on the 2014 television mini-series "Olive Kitteridge," which was shot on the North Shore and Cape Ann. It had a fully-furnished house and apartment, and fully-stocked drug store.

"They said they wanted to donate everything," Cooperman recalled. "I knew we'd have truckloads going to great thrift stores, but I really wanted to find an organization that gave directly to people in need."

Enter Project Home Again. Its 5,000 square foot warehouse is in the basement of an industrial building in Lawrence, packed as far as the eye can see. Though well-organized, there's barely enough space to walk through. For 16 years, it's been donating home goods to people trying to rebuild their lives. Since "Olive Kitteridge," it's absorbed sets from over 20 films and 30 commercials shot in-state.

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