Friday, December 15, 2017
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A push to draw movie-makers to Glens Falls

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

As we speak, a movie connected with last year’s inaugural Adirondack Film Festival is filming in the Glens Falls-Lake George region, under a fairly heavy level of privacy, per the producers’ requests.

Another two or more filmmakers from this year’s festival said they plan to come back here, and many others seemed genuine in saying, “I’d like to make a movie here.”

Festival darling, the actor-director Daniel Roebuck, plans to shoot his next movie here early next year.

Immediately after the festival, Chad Rabinovitz shared, Mr. Roebuck also contacted the filmmaker of a short the actor is cast in, and suggested that project also move up here to Glens Falls.

“It’s a walking tour,” Chad Rabinovitz says of the Film Festival’s impact.

He said that besides the person-to-person connections between locals, visitors and filmmakers, the festival gets out-of-towners, producers, actors and decision-makers walking the downtown for two days, including down Warren Street to the Hyde this year. A couple of filmmakers who had families in tow told me they also took time to further explore the sights of Lake George and even beyond.

Our little Glens Falls region is potentially a filmmaker’s dream — picturesque, with an old downtown, industrial buildings and residential locations; the lake and other landscapes; a talent pool for roles on screen and behind the cameras; and restaurants and accommodations, plus proximity to New York City.

It had to help that the weather was spot-on perfect this year, the autumn sun showing the region to its best advantage.

Andrew Meader alluded in his remarks at the closing party to “the film commission,” as if it’s already an entity.

Mr. Rabinovitz says he is convinced that such an organization would drive economic development, that there are filmmakers eager to come here and spend money (also cut deals to cut their expenses, to be sure).

Both men urge: Make it easy, develop the local talent pool, facilitate location logistics and accommodations, and the Glens Falls region could become an epicenter for filmmakers.

Radium Girls, which filmed on location here last autumn (not connected to the Film Fest), came and went seemingly without much emotional attachment to the region. But they left us with what’s called a Qualified Production Facility at what is now Cool Insuring Arena, Mr. Meader said.

He said that’s something filmmakers want and need as they consider making movies here. Infrastructure is not always sexy, but it matters.

To that end, the Festival invested in upgraded technology at many venues this year — a behind-the-scenes choice that impacted the audience experience.

“Last year we were running around fixing issues all day,” Mr. Rabinovitz said.

This year on Friday afternoon, he, programming director Jessica Levandoski and event director Jess Reed were “hanging” in the lobby of 190 Grille and Cinema, between screenings at the time, no emergencies in sight.

When there was a problem it got addressed. One short film hiccuped sound and visuals — they paused the screening and fixed it quickly. Seems obvious, but afterwards, appreciative filmmakers who’d been in the room told me that doesn’t always happen at other festivals: “They’d just let it go.”

Running the event as a class act matters, says Mr. Rabinovitz. He said that includes providing accommodations to the filmmakers, VIP parties and a filmmakers’ breakfast (where the festival pitched, hard: Come here and make movies).

He said it also means maintaining artistic quality of the films and technology, even just keeping the screenings on time.

“That’s what will set us apart and continue to make a name for this festival,” Mr. Rabinovitz urges. “There is so much potential here.”

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