When Bess Hauser was first asked by filmmakers Elizabeth Martin and Marshall Curry to let them use her family's apartment as a hair and makeup area for an upcoming film shoot, she didn't hesitate.
Two years later, she has an associate producer's credit on an Oscar-winning film. "The Neighbors' Window" won Feb. 9 at the 92nd Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
"Marshall and Elizabeth are neighbors, and friends," Hauser said, adding that their families live in the same building in Brooklyn, N.Y. "Our kids are the same ages, and we've spent a lot of time together over the years."
In fact Hauser, who is the daughter of longtime Detroit Lakes residents Dick and Georgia Hecock, ended up doing a lot more than just let the couple use her apartment for the three-day shoot.
"I helped get some of the props, and recruited the baby in the movie — it’s our basketball coach’s daughter," she explained. "I also talked to the condo association of the building that they shot in front of at the end, and when all the filming was going on I worked with Marshall to manage everybody (in the cast and crew), so our neighbors weren’t too inconvenienced by all the people who were coming and going constantly."
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Once the December 2017 film shoot had ended, life went back to normal for Bess, her husband Andrew, and their two children, Georgia (named after Bess's mother) and Gus.
Then, Curry's short film, "The Neighbors' Window," made its public debut at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, which Hauser attended. Since then, the 20-minute film has gone on to win numerous awards and accolades including its most recent, the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
"It’s been really exciting for my kids because they’ve truly grown up with the Curry kids," Hauser said. "It’s sort of surreal to watch people you know get up onstage at the Oscars to accept an award." Curry received the trophy from presenters Shia LaBeouf and "The Peanut Butter Falcon" star Zack Gottsagen.
Though Hauser was not born and raised in the Detroit Lakes community, "I spent every summer there growing up," she said.
"I worked for my cousin at the Dunvilla restaurant for a couple of summers, and I worked at Lakeside (Tavern) for a couple of summers when I was in college," she added.
She and her family try to get back to the community at least a couple of times a year to visit her parents, Hauser said.
Though she did not get a golden Oscar statue of her own — that honor went to Curry, who had been nominated three times before, for his documentary work, but had never won — Hauser said, "I have held it."
She was even able to get her picture taken with Marshall, Elizabeth and their Oscar at a Feb. 14 party for everyone involved with the film.
"It’s not every day you do a favor for a friend and end up with a credit in an Oscar-winning project," Hauser said.
About the film
The short film "The Neighbors' Window," which is based on a true story, is about Alli (Maria Dizzia, "The Good Wife" and "Orange is the New Black"), a mother of young children who has grown frustrated with her daily routine and husband (Greg Keller, "Madam Secretary"). But her life is shaken up when two free-spirited twenty-somethings move in across the street and she discovers that she can see into their apartment.
For more information, visit theneighborswindow.com.