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What you need to know for 08/23/2017

Independent filmmakers come to Amsterdam

Independent filmmakers come to Amsterdam

Wednesday was the ninth day of shooting for a new movie with the working title “Kill For Me," with n
Independent filmmakers come to Amsterdam
Vincent Graziano, of Poughkeepsie, center, and Dan Frye, of Hopkinton, NJ, set up HMI window lights with diffusion on the set of "Kill For Me", an independent movie filming in the Amsterdam area, at a home on Cranes Hollow Road on Wednesday, July 30, 2...
Photographer: Patrick Dodson


The voice was loud and clear.

Suddenly, everyone on set turned silent, except for the two main actors in the scene. Bailey Chase, who appears on the A&E show “Longmire,” and one of his co-stars, Craig Walker, playing two of the main characters in the film, were the focus of this scene.

No, this wasn’t Hollywood. This wasn’t even Schenectady, where “The Place Beyond the Pines” was filmed.

This was Amsterdam.

To be exact, the scene took place outside an abandoned factory along Elk Street, where it was shot for a new movie with the working title “Kill For Me.” A second location, where the crew shot later in the day, was a trailer along Cranes Hollow Road in the town of Amsterdam.

Chase plays a man who spent 20 years behind bars. Before leaving prison, however, he gets into a fight with another inmate, who then threatens to kill Chase’s son. The movie is about Chase trying to find his son after he gets out of prison to save him from the inmate. The inmate is still in prison, but knows dangerous people on the outside.

A corrections officer, played by Dylan Baker, known for such films as “Spider-Man 2” and television shows like “The Good Wife,” helps Chase find his son. And in the scene that takes place on Elk Street, Chase is trying to convince his best friend, played by Walker, to help him, as well.

Wednesday was the ninth day of shooting, with nine more to go. Most of the shooting will take place in the city. Forty people work on the crew.

Tim McCann is the movie’s director. Benjamin Bickham is its producer and has worked with McCann on his past two films.

The atmosphere and texture of the city fit the story, Bickham explained.

“[McCann] sees abandoned factories like this,” he said, “and sees the beauty in it.”

Also, Bickham explained, they will receive an extra 10 percent tax credit for filming in Montgomery County. On top of that, city officials such as the mayor and police chief, as well as the general population, have been helpful and kind to them as they make the film.

McCann is originally from Nyack, but lives in Salem, North Carolina. He has been directing movies for 20 years — “Kill For Me” (the title may be changed to “No Beast So Fierce”) will be his ninth. He likes to deal with dark, fatalistic stories — his other works include the story of a man who becomes addicted to crack after a failed marriage and another of a person dealing with schizophrenia.

But “Kill for Me” is more of a film-noir, he said.

McCann was 13 or 14 when he fell in love with movies after watching Werner Herzog’s “Aguirre, the Wrath of God.” As a director, McCann calls John Cassavetes and Michael Mann his influences.

“They’re both very restless and adventurous with the form,” he explained.

“Creatively, it’s more interesting to play a flawed character than someone who’s put together,” said Chase, about playing the main character.

Raymond Kwok wrote the script, his 10th but the first to be produced. Kwok, an investment banker living in Manhattan, has been writing scripts for the past three years, but has been a lifelong movie fan. He admits the first script he wrote wasn’t good, but he read books and entered competitions and honed his craft.

“The more you write, the better you get,” he said.

According to Ben Hawthorne, a production assistant tasked with casting extras in the movie and bringing in local folks to act, 30 or 40 people from the city were cast in the film, including Angela Mitchell. Mitchell, who’s never acted in a movie before, heard about the movie through a Craigslist ad. At first, she didn’t believe a movie would be filmed in Amsterdam, but after spotting a film crew while driving through the city, she decided to contact the people working on the film through the ad.

Soon after, she was cast as the wife of Walker’s character. She was nervous, but listened to the instructions. And she knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

“It’s a good opportunity,” she said.

The movie, after shooting, will spend about a year in post-production. Then, the team must decide whether to take the movie to festivals to attract a distributor or instead contact distributors directly.

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