'Place Beyond the Pines’ to premiere in Toronto
Movie filmed in Schenectady area last summer
SCHENECTADY Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines” will debut before audiences attending the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
The movie, filmed throughout the Schenectady area in the summer of 2011, was announced as one of the roughly 300 feature-length films that will be shown at the prestigious two-week festival, which typically draws more than a quarter-million people each year.
A date for the showing won’t be announced until late August, according to organizers, but the buzz surrounding the first screening of the film is already starting to reverberate through the Electric City.
“People are pretty excited about it,” exclaimed Don Rittner, co-chairman of the Schenectady Film Commission.
Details about the film have been sparse since shooting wrapped in late September. The 140-minute film features a host of big names in Hollywood, including popular actors Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes.
Gosling stars as a professional motorcycle stunt rider who turns to a life of crime to support a newborn child. He is doggedly pursued by Avery Cross, a rookie cop portrayed by Cooper, spurring a generational feud that extends from his career in law enforcement through his election as state attorney general.
Cianfrance specifically chose Schenectady because he was searching for a place that would capture an honest image of an American city. Crews worked throughout Schenectady and the surrounding area, including action scenes that were shot on busy downtown streets and in the heart of the village of Scotia.
The movie will also prominently feature notable locations throughout the area, including the Schenectady Police Department, City Hall, and St. John the Evangelist Church. And it will also feature plenty of local residents — Cianfrance relied on more than 2,000 extras and even gave about four dozen locals prominent speaking roles in the film.
Rittner was among them. He was part of a robbery scene that was shot inside a local bank and had the dubious honor of being shaken down by Gosling.
“How many people can say they got beaten up by Ryan Gosling — 14 times,” he mused Tuesday.
Producers from the film attended the festival in Toronto last year to market the production, just as the final scenes were being shot. The approach was a bit unconventional, since producers often wait until they have a rough cut to show potential distributors.
Then in April, rumors swirled about the film being shown at the Cannes Film Festival. But when the lineup was announced, it was not among them.
It’s still unclear when the film will finally hit theaters in the United States. William Morris Endeavor Entertainment has been enlisted as the domestic sales agent for the film, according to the festival’s website.
When the film is finally released, theaters in Schenectady will certainly be making a pitch to get a special screening. Philip Morris, chief executive officer of Proctors, said he’s hoping the distribution company will be amenable to having a showing at the landmark venue.
“We’re working on it,” he said.
Word of the Toronto screening came on the same day Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to strengthen existing tax incentives in order to attract more post-production activity to New York. Post-production work includes editing after filming is complete, visual effects, color correction, sound editing and mixing, among other work.
Since being established in 2010, New York’s post-production incentive program has only resulted in 19 applications, according to the governor’s office. Under the new law, the credit increases from 10 percent to 30 percent in many metropolitan areas of the state or 35 percent in locations in upstate New York.
Rittner lauded the new law. When combined with the overall affordable cost of shooting in upstate, he said the tax credits will make the area even more attractive to productions.