Show shot locally gets Hollywood-style premiere at Proctors

The red carpet was out, the child “stars” arrived at Proctors by limousine and about the only thi


The red carpet was out, the child “stars” arrived at Proctors by limousine and about the only thing missing Sunday night was a reporter from “Entertainment Tonight” or “E!”

People snapped photographs, held out their note pads to get autographs and shook hands with the new celebrities. This was all part of the world premiere of “E-Scape,” a six-episode a mini-series by director Mike Feurstein that was shot this past summer in and around Lock 7, Park and Woodlawn Nature Preserve in Niskayuna and at Camp Chingachgook in Lake George.

Similar in tone to ABC’s hit series “Lost,” the movie is about a group of children who are stranded by their camp counselors and have to figure out how they are going to survive. They eventually find out they are trapped in a computer game and have to try to find a way to get out.

Feurstein, whose day jobs include teacher’s aide at Scotia-Glenville schools and owning his own movie lighting rental company, wrote the 60-page script himself. He has always been interested in comics and these kind of fantasy television shows.

“I like making short movies and things all the time. I wanted something I could tweak and play with and offer cliffhangers,” he said.

He shot the movie in 16 days during the first two weeks of June and July. He ended up with 90 minutes of footage, which he edited down to the final cut of the movie, which was shown in the GE Theatre.

“I loved every minute of it,” he said. “I was basically a crew of two — myself and cameraman.”

About 25 people had parts in the movie. Feurstein drew his cast members from local video production classes he had taught. He also put an advertisement on the Web site, Craigslist. He said some members of the children started out “wooden,” but eventually came out of their shells.

Noah Berliner, 14, a 9th-grader at Schenectady High School, starred as “Jack,” who tries to lead the group to safety.

“They don’t know what’s going on and weird things are happening,” he said.

Berlinger said he met Feurstein when he did a program in the schools. He said the movie was a fun thing to do during the summer.

Emma Guilfoyle, 13, an eighth-grader at Oneida Middle School, played Myrna, the female protagonist who splits off from the group and nearly meets her doom. She said the filming conditions were somewhat difficult.

“Sometimes, it was really hot, really buggy and I was like ‘I’ve got to do another take,’ ” she said, sighing.

However, she said he was psyched about seeing their creation on the big screen at the GE Theatre.

“This is insane,” she said.

Patrick Reilly, 14, a ninth-grader at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School who played the son of the game’s designer and a foil to Jack, said he loves acting.

“[You’re} taking on a new person,” he said.

Each episode was about 10 minutes long with the season final episode slightly longer. Feurstein said the eventual goal is to release it once a week online in a series of episodes. He said these first six episodes constitute the first season of a planned three-season series. Feurstein said the entire first season will be screened at the Ballston Spa Winter Festival in February and he plans to have other screenings.

The movie cost about a couple thousand dollars to produce. He said he was grateful for the in-kind support that parents provided including donating food and transportation.

An audience of about 300 people applauded, cheered and laughed during the various scenes.

“It’s phenomenal,” said Elizabeth Van Court of Schenectady, adding she liked the way the photography was integrated with special effects.

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