Who needs Hollywood?
Filmmakers, Nicole Coady, Katie Spass and Andrew Balog have found the perfect place for their latest film, which is set to premiere on Amazon.The Capital Region.
“We were blessed because there are a lot of great places around here,” Balog said.
Spass and Balog, who recently married, met Coady while working on the board of the Saratoga International Film Festival. They came together in 2016 to form Trident Fantasy Films, a television and film production company based in Saratoga Springs. This week, they’re filming their first show, called “The Adventures of Snow White and Rose Red.”
“We have beautiful woods and these beautiful locations. Well, that really lends itself to fairy tales and fantasy,” Coady said.
Especially when filming a television show right out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
“The Adventures of Snow White and Rose Red” is a children’s television show based on the classic Grimm’s fairy tale characters. In e ach episode Snow White and Rose Red have an adventure with other classic fairy tale characters.
Coady, Spass and Balog all have extensive experience in the film industry. Coady spent over 25 years working as a screenwriter and producer in Hollywood and teaches at Skidmore College, where Trident has been able to set up an office. Balog works in film distribution and is a screenwriter, director and producer. Spass has experience in film production and is the executive producer of “The Adventures of Snow White and Rose Red.”
“It’s a very heart-centered show for children. Every episode has a moral or a lesson that the girls learn, Coady said, “It’s Once Upon A Time for 5-year-olds.”
The episodes are relatively short, between 10 and 15 minutes, with seven episodes in the first season, which will be available for Amazon Prime users. They start filming the first season of the show next week at various locations in Saratoga Springs, Ballston Spa and Galway.
Although there were a lot of ideas swirling around when Trident first formed, Coady said that working on a children's/family film quickly became a priority.
“In so many of the shows that my daughter used to watch, we would literally have to turn it off because the characters were being so snarky, mean and biting to each other. It wasn’t modeling what I wanted my child to speak [like] and be,” Coady said.
Instead, the Trident filmmakers want to present life lessons in an old-fashioned fairy tale style, with compelling moral characters and woodland creatures. Family pets will be making a few cameos as the woodland creatures. The actors and actresses slated to play characters like Alice from “Alice in Wonderland” are mostly from the Capital Region.
They found their compelling protagonists in Rose Red and Snow White, played by Callista and Demetra Zorbas, two local teens and part- time professional princesses. Earlier this year, the two dressed as Anna and Elsa from Disney’s "Frozen" and threw a "Frozen" dance party for children at the National Museum of Dance. The duo has also visited preschools in the area and they run a Youtube channel called Enchanted Sisters.
As soon as the Trident team met the Zorbas sisters, their decision was made.
“This is the thing with children’s films, there’s no real kids in them. It’s all cartoons,” Spass said.
Through the Zorbas sisters, Trident filmmakers want to represent kids who parents want their kids to take inspiration from.
“We’re very conscious of our audience. I feel like, especially as a mom, a lot of TV for little kids is just not helpful to them. We really wanted to create a show not only that kids would love, but would also educate them on how to be a good person.” Coady said.
The team is also hoping that the show will make kids more interested in reading the original Grimm’s stories.
“I think our culture is losing them and I think there is a lot of wisdom in them. These are old stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. The stories in themselves have this innate wisdom and we’re trying to stay true to these stories as much as possible,” Coady said.
While there are hundreds of shows available on Netflix and Amazon, there aren’t nearly as many live action films for children as there are films for adults and teens, according to Coady.
Balog negotiated the distribution deal with Amazon.
“It just kinda made sense for this project,” Balog said. Prime users will be able to stream the first episode sometime in late December. Then the rest will roll out monthly.
Although this won’t be Balog or Spass’ first foray into directing solo projects, it will be Coady’s first and something she’s really excited about after working for so many years with someone else calling the shots.
“This is one of the reasons I left Hollywood. I’d sell a script or get hired to write something and by the time it hit the screen it was completely destroyed. It was nowhere near what I’d originally written. This is really my first chance to get to direct my own stuff and work with these guys to create something where we call the shots and we decide all of it,” Coady said.
Be on the lookout for filming in progress across the Capital Region next week. If the weather holds up, the crew plans to start in Saratoga Springs. To find out more about the show or Trident Fantasy Films visit tridentfantasyfilms.com.