SCHENECTADY – The Electric City is playing host to a growing number of film projects, including an independent feature film that recently began filming in Schenectady.
Tentatively called “Atlas,” the production began filming just over a week ago, shooting scenes at Armory Studios NY and other locations around the county.
It’s a coming-of-age story set in a traditional American town that follows a recent high school graduate working hard to build a future while navigating family, first love, after-school jobs and facing the breadth of the world.
Directed by Merlin Camozzi, the production joins a host of other projects that have been filmed in Schenectady in recent years, including Showtime’s “Three Women,” Amazon Prime’s “Modern Love” and many others.
“I received the call back in January from the producer and director, both from Los Angeles,” said Schenectady Film Commissioner Donna Pennell. “At that time we had the HBO Max ‘Pretty Little Liars’ production loading into Armory Studios NY, followed by visits from Discovery who were in town for their network series, ‘In Pursuit,’ while local producer, Prince Sprauve, was busy filming at locations around the city for ‘The Last Shot,’ which recently premiered at Proctors.”
Camozzi said from the moment the team first scouted in Schenectady, they’ve been amazed by the city’s cinematic texture.
“It’s such a unique city, with a really vibrant community, an incredible range of architecture and visually compelling buildings,” said Camozzi.
Crew members began arriving at the end of July. Following a casting call in August at Armory Studios, dozens of local cast and crew have been hired for supporting roles and background talent.
“Schenectady has been the perfect partner to help us create this story,” said Producer Jenny Reed. “We’ve been blown away by how welcoming, enthusiastic and helpful everyone has been. From finding filming locations to background actors to building a production home base, it’s been great to have true partners in the film commission, city, county and community.”
The film is being shot at Armory Studios while the popular “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” remains on view on the main sound stage.
“One of the beautiful things about Armory Studios is its sheer size,” said co-owner Ray Legere.
The Armory, which stretches over 90,000 square feet, has multiple studios and can accommodate more than one production.
“We actually had our first few days of filming at The Armory,” said Camozzi. “It was just the perfect place to kick off production. It’s such a great facility and the team there makes it so easy to set up a production base camp and customize spaces for sets. There’s so much versatility in the space.”
Beyond filming in the city, crewmembers have also taken the time to explore Schenectady during their stay and have set up office space at Urban Co-Works and made Arthur’s a hub for unofficial production hangouts.
They’ve also had a chance to get to know community members.
“We have been fortunate to get to know and work with some really wonderful local neighbors both before and now during production,” said Reed. “We feel totally embraced by the community and have loved making this the home of our production.”
The production is expected to be in Schenectady through October.