Filmmaking on Long Island
Filmmaking on Long Island is much more prevalent than most of us realize. Projects range from small commercials for business, to independent shorts and full-length films. A wide variety of documentaries and major films are produced, shot, and edited here. There is also lots of support for TV shows.
I have worked as story consultant, lighting, camera and drone operator, and Director of Photography for 3 short films for Glen Cove Producer/Director Maria Sawoch Filippone. Maria’s movies Over Tea, Moments, and Mid-Life Conversation have done extremely well at Indy film festivals throughout the country. NYLIFF and LIIFF are 2 popular film festivals here on Long Island. Films come from all over the globe, but it is always great to see films produced by Long Islanders.
Working on shorts has challenges,
mostly around budget and locations, but the small cast and crew think out of the box to create the director’s vision. I imagine budget is always an issue, but larger projects provide great flexibility in everything ranging from talent to location.
Last December I was invited on set of major project Christmas VS The Walters. With the official premiere on November 2nd in Huntington at the AMC-8 theater, and national release on November 5th, I will not spoil the story for you. I was on location in Lindenhurst where JARS Media Group was shooting just 1 scene. The scale of the production, compared to the shorts I worked on, was huge.
A Christmas village was set up in the Lindenhurst Town Square, already decorated for Christmas. Covid tests were administered for all people coming on set, and masks were required except for those on camera. I would estimate with the moon light on the crane, camera operators, production assistants, security, catering, cast and extras, there were over 100 people working to capture about 5 minutes of screen time action. It was a cold night shoot, with snow on the ground and fog in the air. All of the actors, extras and crew seemed to be weather resistant.
Major films have a tremendous positive impact wherever they are filmed, from salaries, to food, logistics and catering. Actors stayed in nearby hotels. The restaurants were busy and so was transportation. After filming, I met with one of the actors at the Paramount up in Huntington for a quick photoshoot. Christmas VS The Walters brought business from the south shore to the north.
Being close to NYC,
there is tremendous talent available for Long Island Projects. Christmas VS the Walters had actors ranging from veteran journeymen Jack MaGee and Bruce Dern to up and comera Paris Bravo and Tyler Simmons (his first role at the age of 4). Well known stage, tv and movie veterans include Shawnee Smith, Dean Winters, Joseph D’Onofrio, ( https://longislandportfolio.com/joseph-donofrio-featured-artist/) Nate Torrence, Richard Thomas, Caroline Aaron, Betsy Beutler, John Farley, and Chris Elliot.
Christmas VS The Walters is a SparkD production, with JARS Media Group being the driving force behind the movie. Rob Simmons and Ante Novakovic round up the JARS leadership team for this film. A list of their completed projects can be viewed at https://jarsmediagroup.com/projects.asp .
With a diverse talent pool, production company availability, and government policies that support film making, Long Island is a great place to make films.
Enjoy Christmas early this year. The film premiere is November 2nd in Huntington at the AMC theater. You can go see https://www.christmasvsthewalters.com/ from November 5, at a theater near you. Be sure to let us know what you think.