How Hollywood Made it Snow in Ann Arbor in May

All across Michigan, homeowners are mopping up from torrential rains. But in downtown Ann Arbor, there is snow. Movie snow, that is.

"Snow" in downtown Ann Arbor

Why? It’s for the movie Five Year Engagement. The film has been shooting all over the area for the past weeks, according to On Line Vacations, one of our favorite sites for tracking movie productions. says the production company sought permission from the city to take over sidewalks and streets downtown this week.

“Parking for the production team’s trucks on South Ashley, between William and Washington streets, was requested from today at 3 p.m. to Friday at 12 p.m. On Thursday, between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m., the team’s trucks will be parked on North University, between Thayer and Fletcher. And on Thursday (beginning at 4 p.m.) and Friday (ending at 6 a.m.), South Main St., between Liberty and Washington, will be closed for filming, as will two alleys between Main and Ashley, and Liberty Street between Main and Ashley.”

The Real Seafood Company, a downtown fixture, told patrons on its Facebook page that it has canceled sidewalk seating due to the movie shoot, “as the movie is set in winter.”

It’s part of what Changing Gears calls the film factory that’s revved up in our region. And, if you’re going to have an engagement in these parts that lasts five years, at some point, presumably, it’s going to snow.

To be sure, this isn’t the kind of snow that falls on Broadway stages and television Christmas specials. This movie snow is basically fabric wrapped around a backing. And in the case of the big snow pile at the corner of Liberty and Main Streets downtown, it’s styrofoam, which has been painted to look like dirty snow.

But from a distance, and with the magic that cinematographers can do with their lenses, it kind of, sort of, looks like snow. At least it does if you squint and use your imagination.

Spotted any movie magic in your area lately? Tell us where, when and what.


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