On set

Filming is underway for ‘Escape at Dannemora’ in Chestertown on Sept. 29. Two more films have chosen the region as backdrops.

GLENS FALLS — Two new films, slated for filming this fall, join a growing list of cinematic endeavors coming to fruition in this region.

And as more filmmakers select the area as a backdrop for their stories, the buzz grows about how the yet-to-be announced film commission along with the Adirondack Film Festival is helping.

“Andrew Meader has just been a yeoman for us,” said John Gaps III, an independent filmmaker who plans to shoot a feature-length film, “Cop Shop,” in Glens Falls in early January. “They are doing the right things for filmmakers.”

Meader, who has been trying to get a Glens Falls Film Commission off the ground since last year, is board president for the Adirondack Theatre Festival, the organization that hosts the Adirondack Film Festival in Glens Falls. According to Meader, at this time they are only a grassroots group of volunteers.

An official film commission has not been christened, but Meader hopes to continue working toward linking filmmakers to the area.

Gaps, of PGE Development LLC, said Meader knows all about treating guests to the area right and a big part of his assistance is “hospitality.”

“My goodness ... tons of location scouting, making all the right connections with the people we need to work with, police, fire and former Mayor Bartholomew,” Gaps said. “He’s so connected that one night at an Italian restaurant we were serenaded to Puccini by an 85-year-old former opera singer.”

Coming in on the heels of the recently filmed Ben Stiller Showtime series, “Escape at Dannemora,” about the 2015 escape of two convicted murders from the Clinton County Correctional Facility, the upcoming films have shooting schedules planned in Glens Falls and Schroon Lake.

The Stiller film, mostly shot near the Dannemora prison and in Plattsburgh, had several scenes filmed in Warren County. A State Police roadblock scene was recently shot on Main Street in Chestertown.

The first of the new films to shoot here arrives next weekend, when three New York City filmmakers from the New York Picture Company begin preliminary shooting for a short film, “Zero Issue: A Superhero Mockumentary,” in Schroon Lake.

Directed by Jim Fagen, who has been a Schroon Lake summer resident for more than 20 years, “Zero Issue” is the story of Dale Dinkle, a guy whose only goal in life is to be recognized for his power: The ability to move (minor) objects with his mind. Every year, Dale competes in a festival, where aspiring superheroes try to make a name for themselves. But Dale fails to win and he becomes determined to achieve the fame he thinks he deserves.

“We’re doing crewing in Manhattan and then bringing everybody up” said Zach Bubolo, part of the “Zero Issue” team and the New York Picture Company. “We’re staying in the community and working with local catering.”

“Zero Issue” shoots on two weekends, Oct. 21 and 22 and Nov. 18 and 19, said Bubolo. At this time, they plan to shoot from noon to 6 p.m.

“We’re very excited to film in Schroon, and we’re hoping to drum up some local excitement, as we are seeking festival vendors and extras for the team,” Bubolo said.

Gaps, a Pulitzer-nominated AP photographer who brought the front lines of foreign wars to the U.S., got his idea for “Cop Shop” while working for The Des Moines Register one day while sitting in his car and watching the newspaper’s cops reporter going into the Des Moines Police Station.

Writing the screenplay several years ago, he has now secured funding for the more than half-million-dollar film, and he’s ready to shoot in a few months.

How did he get to Glens Falls? Another filmmaker, Jason Pinardo, who is also shooting a film in Glens Falls this fall, called Gaps and said, “This is where you need to shoot.”

And so Gaps and his wife, also his film production partner, made the trip to the Adirondacks from Iowa.

When he went into a Hannaford store and the first person he saw was wearing Crocs, a T-shirt and pajama bottoms, he said, “This is my place.”

Between now and January, they are casting the leads and have open casting calls for extras. They will need about 60 extras for the film.

And currently, there are about 20 to 25 actors they are considering for the lead characters.

“We are negotiating with two Oscar winners and two that have never even gotten a Golden Globe,” he said.

After “Cop Shop,” Gaps is bringing a $5 million film to Glens Falls, he said.

“We are currently negotiating with talent,” he said, adding that he can’t reveal any more about the film at this time.

Because a good friend and partner, Daniel Roebuck, is screening his film “Getting Grace” at the Adirondack Film Festival next weekend, Gaps plans on attending.

“Daniel is the most collegial person in Hollywood,” Gaps said. “We screened his movie and cried. It’s just lovely.”

Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli is a features writer at The Post-Star. She can be reached at kphalen-tomaselli@poststar.com for comments or story ideas.

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