Photo courtesy of the Hudson Valley Film Commission
When you think of movies, forget Hollywood. Forget New York City. Think about the Hudson Valley, where the film industry booms right in our own backyards.
“2017 was a great year, specifically because of John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place from Paramount,” says Laurent Rejto, Hudson Valley Film Commission founder and director. To date, A Quiet Place, which was filmed in Pawling, Beacon, and on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in New Paltz, has grossed more than $270 million worldwide.
“[Last year was also great] because of the TV show Big Dogs and small indie films like Nancy, starring John Leguizamo and Steve Buscemi, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which won the grand jury prize at Sundance, and Diane, which recently won the top award at the Tribeca Film Festival,” adds Rejto.
The Hudson Valley Film Commission has been working with film productions since 2000. “We had the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, The Night Listener starring Robin Williams, and many other films, both large and small,” says Rejto.
The Hudson Valley’s appeal as a prime filming location has led to the Hudson Valley Film Industry Conference, which will be held at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park on June 5. Twenty more film productions are currently happening in the Hudson Valley, including Last Vermont Christmas, which recently filmed in Rhinebeck and stars Erin Cahill.
Although there are currently no organized film tours in the Hudson Valley, fans can come and tour the areas where various movies were filmed. For example, Paul Newman fans can tour Beacon, where the actor shot scenes from Nobody’s Fool. George Clooney fans should visit Blooming Grove and Cornwall in Orange County, where scenes of Michael Clayton were shot.
Television fans can get in on the excitement, too. Many popular shows have filmed in and around Westchester County, including Law & Order SVU, Gotham, and Madame Secretary. For upstaters, Daredevil recently filmed at the Catskill’s Windham.
Doctor Who aficionados should head to The Pandorica in Beacon, a Doctor Who-themed restaurant that serves WHOmmus, Madame De Pompadour Cake, and the Bannakaffalatta pudding. The quirky eatery also has trivia nights and plays episodes of the show all day.
In the Catskills, film and television lovers will jump for The Roxbury Motel and its themed rooms. Are you a fan of I Dream of Jeannie, Star Trek, The Adams Family or The Flintstones? You’re in luck. At The Roxbury, you can stay in Jeannie’s bottle, a Star Trek vessel, a creepy and kooky Adams Family room, or a Flintstones caveman-inspired room, to name just a few. The motel is expanding to offer more selections in the next year.
Production in the Hudson Valley will continue to attract filmmakers and fans alike, so hopefully there will be more tours, destinations, and even museums to follow.
Lisa Iannucci is the author of On Location: A Film and TV Lover’s Travel Guide, which was published by Globe Pequot Press on March 1. It is available in local bookstores and online.