Filmmaking Comes to Barrytown
- Cabot W. Peterson (UTS‘92)
BARRYTOWN, NY - For a little over two weeks, from July 10-28, 2017, the Barrytown Conference Center in upstate New York was home to a production company shooting an independent film based on true events that took place in the wake of the destruction of the World Trade Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 in lower Manhattan.
The film, entitled The Rest Of Us, takes place on the campus of New York University (NYU) and was shot almost entirely on the Barrytown campus, which turned out to be a godsend for both the newly-formed production company, Stockade Works, and the Barrytown Conference Center, which provided the property as well as office space and lodging at the Massena House, several rooms in the main building that were used for production as well as sets, and food catering for the cast and crew of around 50.
Following through on a desire to “work where I live,” Beth Davenport, Executive Director and co-founder of Stockade Works along with actress Mary Stuart Masterson, both Hudson Valley residents, set out to build something close to home. With the help of local government they were able to obtain an additional 10% motion picture tax credit for the non-profit venture, raising the production tax incentive from 30% to 40% on projects of $500,000 or more.
Mary Stuart and I were offered a tour to check out the space. We came and had a tour a few months back and I think immediately both of us thought, ‘wow, what a beautiful space and wouldn’t it be great to do something with this for film.’ This film takes place on a college campus so, obviously, Barrytown was a perfect fit for putting that atmosphere together.”Beth Davenport, Executive Director and co-founder of Stockade Works
Stockade Works co-founders Beth Davenport (l) and Mary Stuart Masterson (r) participate in an early "boot camp" meeting.
“Our mission at Stockade Works is to further the potential of film and television in the Hudson Valley,” said Davenport. “We do that by attracting production - like this one being shot at Barrytown - and by training the local workforce. As these productions come in, we don’t want them to bring in their crews from New York City, we want to make sure we have a very viable and skilled local workforce to use on these productions.”
In order to fulfill this goal they have come up with a unique idea to attract and train people who live in and around Kingston, NY. In an area once home to a military prison, or stockade, keeping the military theme, they have named their training program a “boot camp,” and people applying for a job are asked to fill out a “Boot Camp Application.” Judging by the results, “boot camp” has been an unqualified success.
“One of the first things we did is we had a pilot boot camp,” said Davenport. “We trained 23 people from the Hudson Valley over five counties; a cross-section of ages, all the way from just graduating high school to a 50-year old, in various skills needed to be an assistant on a feature film.”
“We placed 19 on the job and they have all been a huge resource. So, it’s been a really big success for us. We also tried our best to employ as many local crew members as possible. We want to bring everyone up to a skill level so that in five years we hope to have enough television and film production here where we can create about 1,200 or more full time jobs.”
Once the “boot camp” program was underway and a story chosen for its maiden venture, the Stockade Works co-founders went looking for a location to shoot the film. Relying, once again, on local resources, they were guided to Barrytown.
Early days of "boot camp" with Stockade Works co-founders Mary Stuart Masterson (c) and Beth Davenport (r)
“Mary Stuart and I were offered a tour to check out the space, I believe, by the town supervisor of Red Hook,” said Davenport. “We came and had a tour a few months back and I think immediately both of us thought, ‘wow, what a beautiful space and wouldn’t it be great to do something with this for film.’ This film takes place on a college campus so, obviously, Barrytown was a perfect fit for putting that atmosphere together.”
“We’ve really appreciated all of the support from your organization. You also provided our meals on set; we feel it’s been a great collaboration and we hope it has been for you as well.”
Collaboration is a key word in the running of Stockade Works, whether with local businesses, politicians, or others in the film and television industry. This was evident in this, their first endeavor, which they have produced but is directed by Linda Mills, Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice Provost for Global Programs and University Life at NYU, and an award-winning producer in her own right.
Future projects will be developed along similar lines, with Stockade Works either producing the film and providing the cast, crew and support staff, or simply providing a trained crew with the technological skills necessary to complete a quality finished film, with others taking on the production role.
Plans are now underway to transition into what Davenport calls “Phase II.” Partnering with RUPCO, a local community development and housing non-profit, they are working to create a film and technology center in midtown Kingston.
Director Linda Mills checks out some of the daily film footage
“This center will have everything,” explained Davenport, “from high-end, post-production finishing suites, to a sound stage, a black box performing arts theater, a dine-in movie theater, co-working spaces, event spaces. We’re really looking forward to that opening, which should take place in early 2019, as an actual, physical hub where people can come together and train and learn.”
Davenport also pointed out that jobs in film and television go far beyond what one sees on the screen. In fact, most of the “action” takes place behind the camera.
“There are many, what we call ‘below the line,’ jobs,” said Davenport. “If you’re an electrician you can work in film, if you’re a carpenter you can build sets. There are so many jobs that are ripe for apprenticeship. If you’re in hair and makeup that is something that we need; if you’re a fashion person, costume design and wardrobe. It’s really about bringing awareness to those jobs that people might not realize even exist in film."