Monday, May 27, 2013

Sunderland, following lead of Shelburne and Buckland, creates film permitting process to prepare for Robert Downey Jr. movie, 'The Judge'

SUNDERLAND – Following the lead of nearby Shelburne and Buckland, town officials have come up with a permitting process to facilitate collaboration among departments when Hollywood comes to call.

Sunderland expects scenes from the Warner Brothers movie “The Judge” to be filmed in town in June. While most residents are eagerly looking forward to the lights, cameras and action, Town Hall wants to ensure that the necessities of everyday life remain available.
“We want to get everybody informed,” said Selectman Thomas Fydenkevez. “Police, fire, the board of health. They should all be on the same page. A lot of things can happen and there could be a cascading string of events.”

With an all-star cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vincent D'Onofrio, Billy Bob Thornton and Vera Farmiga, “The Judge” is a “dramady” about a lawyer (Downey, Jr.) who returns to his hometown for his mother's funeral to discover that his estranged father (Duvall), the town's judge, is suspected of murder. Shooting in Shelburne Falls and other area locales is expected to begin Friday and last about 2½ weeks.
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The towns of Shelburne and Buckland, which face each other across the Deerfield River, have already devised similar permits for which production companies must apply. Shelburne Falls, the village that includes parts of both towns, had the Hollywood experience as recently as last year, when the Kate Winslet movie “Labor Day” shot scenes there.

Shelburne selectman Joseph Judd said his town began discussing the process of creating a permit last December, “long before we knew we were ever going to have another movie here.”

Although “Labor Day” was a positive experience for most people in the community, Judd said some logistics needed to be worked out. The production people at Warner Brothers have been helping the town every step of the way during preparation for shooting “The Judge.”

“They’re so professional, it’s amazing,” he said. “It’s very obvious form the way they handle themselves. We’re happy Warner Brothers chose our town again.”

Massachusetts has become a popular location for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials, thanks in large part to state film tax incentives.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, 77 productions applied for film tax credits totaling about $44 million in 2011, a significant increase from the $18.1 million in credits sought in 2010.

 Those productions generated $174.6 million, $60.7 million of which was spent in Massachusetts, nearly $27 million of that on salaries. They also created 497 new jobs.

Among the movies shot in Massachusetts in 2011 were Seth MacFarlane's "Ted," the Kevin James comedy "Here Comes the Boom," and "I Don't Know How She Does It" starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

In 2008, major portions of the Mel Gibson movie “Edge of Darkness” were filmed in Northampton and South Deerfield, as well as Boston.

Fydenkevez said Sunderland had a taste of Hollywood then, when a scene from “Edge of Darkness” was filmed on Route 116. Word is that Warner Brothers is considering shooting a scene from "The Judge" on Route 47, where the town’s public safety complex is. The permit process should help officials prepare for that.

“If they’re going to tie up the road, we need to be able to get our equipment in and out,” Fydenkevez said.

In Shelburne Falls, a funeral procession will reportedly be staged near Bridge Street, which will be wetted down to simulate rain. Although “The Judge” is supposed to be set in Indiana, Judd is hoping it will do for Shelburne Falls what “Mystic Pizza” did for Mystic, Conn.

“When I saw that movie for the first time, I wanted to see Mystic, Connecticut,” he said.
Judd has since traveled there several times to sample the pizza at the real Mystic Pizza.






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3 comments:

Regina Caschetto said...

And does he know, I wonder, that Vincent was in "Mystic Pizza?" Probably not.
Regina

MrsClaire K said...

I can hardly wait ;-)

sixtwosue said...

Love Sunderland, wish my friend still lived there -- she was right on the main drag. But she moved down the road to Amherst. Sigh ...

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