Eli Ruiz | Democrat
The sun-splashed promenade of the old Apollo Mall makes a dramatic contrast with the dark portions where the filming took place.
Apollo Mall is 'anchor' for filmmakers
By Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO March 29, 2013 “Rolling… Quiet please!”
“Jaime Marks is Dead” is not a horror flick. It’s not a sci-fi movie either. That much the Democrat was able to glean from extremely secretive producers of the film last Thursday as they shot some scenes at the long abandoned Apollo Mall.
“We won’t attach a specific genre to the movie,” said one of the producers, Omri Bezelel. “It’s a movie about belonging. We as humans all want to belong to something, to someone. It’s about belonging, more than anything, but I think it uses life and death as a metaphor very well.”
The film is an adaptation of the book “One for Sorrow” by Christopher Barzak and revolves around a “runaway” character.
As line producer Zeke Dunn explained, “The main character and a friend have kind of holed-up in this abandoned mall/warehouse for about five days. The scenes here mostly entail the two characters goofing around, killing time and things like that… may not sound like much, but it’s central to the theme of the film.”
Those who get to watch the film when it’s finally released might recognize the back-roads of Mongaup Valley and Bethel, as well as other familiar shooting locations the film’s director Carter Smith chose for the film.
“He [Smith] basically just drove around scouting locations and one day he drove by this [the Apollo]. The overall story touches on abandonment and so a lot of our environments and sets are quite derelict; and many haunted. A place like this [the Apollo] that no one is currently occupying except for maybe the occasional ghost presents the perfect situation for our needs,” related Dunn.
The cast and crew began Thursday’s Apollo shoot just before 9 a.m., and Dunn said, “Today will be a long day. We’ve got a little bit more than the usual stuff to take care of today, so we’ll probably be here until past 11 p.m. tonight.”
Dunn explained that the novel on which the film is based “includes locations in Massachusetts and Ohio, but those locations were just logistically untenable for us. So with Carter being a New Yorker, and New York a major production hub that provides great tax incentives… put that all together and we thought it good reasoning to stick around New York.”
Asked why they chose Sullivan County in particular to shoot most of the film, Dunn said, “Well, I have to say that the Apollo is definitely the anchor that brought us to Monticello, but it involves a lot more than just the Apollo.”
Though much of the film is indeed lensed in Sullivan County, Dunn says that the fictional town is never given a name or mentioned in the film.
Dunn would not disclose the project’s budget, but did say that they were filming on an extremely tight 21-day shooting schedule.
“We’re just more than half-way done with the project and just about finished with filming in Monticello. We have three days of shooting at two locations on the Hudson [River] and then a stage- shoot in Brooklyn,” said Dunn.
After filming is completed there still remains much work for Dunn and the film’s other producers. Regarding an official release date, Dunn offered, “The movie is being made for participation in the film festival circuit. We haven’t decided yet which festival we’ll be showing at as that decision will be made once the filming wraps. Whichever festival is next once filming is complete will more than likely be the one we go with.”
Dunn hopes to pick up a distributor for the film through the film-festival circuit, after which the film can then be released to a wider audience.
“We’re way smaller than Hollywood, but that in itself presents some advantages. We’re not trying to compete with Hollywood. If you try to make “Silver Linings Playbook” as an independent film… Hollywood’s going to make it better and bigger. When you make an independent film you try to make something Hollywood can’t, or won’t make.”
Dunn added, “I think it will appeal to a wide audience, and that’s what we’re seeking, but I also know that it’s a bit arty. It’s got its own message before it’s concerned with becoming a $100 million hit.”
Just remember it’s not a horror flick.