- A still from the trailer for "The Undoing," premiering on HBO 10/25.
While COVID may have slowed down filming in the area this season, 2019 was a busy year, so there is no shortage of Hudson Valley films and series preparing to make their screen debuts. Here are some new and upcoming releases either produced in the region or by a local filmmaker to add to your watch list.
Available to Stream
Old Cow | Amazon Prime
Bard professor Kelly Reichardt is the director behind this new film about the first cow to be brought to the colonies. Like all her films, this one, filmed in Oregon is cinematic, spacious, and beautiful with scenes in the forest, the plains, and early frontier towns. Starring John Magaro, Orion Lee, and Toby Jones, the film explores the unlikely friendship that blooms between a soft-spoken cook to fur trappers and an ambitious Chinese immigrant, along with ideas of capitalism, property, and the American dream. “First Cow” is available to rent or stream on Amazon Prime.
Chief Zabu | Amazon Prime
In 1986, fledging writer Neil Cohen and enigmatic character actor Zach Norman (Romancing the Stone) teamed up to film Chief Zabu, a low-budget comedy about a New York real estate developer with political ambitions that was filmed almost entirely on the Bard College campus.
For a variety of hilarious reasons, including footage mysteriously going missing for decades, it was never released. But on August 7, “Chief Zabu” was released on Amazon Prime.
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn | HBO
Power broker, fixer to the elite, infamous attorney, and chief counselor to Joseph McCarthy, Roy Cohn was feared by most, admired by some, and unquestionably powerful in the eyes of all. This unique documentary does not shy away from conflict of interest but rather takes a deep dive into the personal.
Drawing on her family’s history, Cold Spring-based director Ivy Meeropol’s explores the life career of Cohn, who prosecuted (read: executed) her grandparents: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. (Her previous film, Heir to an Execution, also explores the lives and deaths of her grandparents.) The documentary is available to stream on HBO.
I'm Thinking of Ending Things | Netflix
From the Academy Award-winning writer of Eternal Sunshine and Being John Malkovich, comes this eerie new film based on Iain Reid’s bestselling debut novel. The mind-bending, time-bending movie follows the protagonist on a visit home to meet her new boyfriend’s family. The main location for the film was a home situated in the hamlet of Circleville in Orange County. The Hudson Valley Film Commission worked closely with location manager Justin Stowell, with whom we have worked on Shirley, The Mountain, A Vigilante, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, It Comes at Night, and several other projects. “The most difficult aspect for locations was finding locations with snow,” Rejto says.
During the first quarter of 2019, the Hudson Valley Film Commission referred many crew members and helped out with casting by referring local casting directors.Over 400 dayplayers and extras were hired for scenes at the Red Line Diner in Fishkill and a high school scene, as well as 20 local crew members for production. “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is set to be release on Netflix on September 4.
“Monsterland” | Hulu |10/2
Not for the feint of heart, Hulu’s limited series “Monsterland” falls squarely in the sci-fi/horror anthology genre. Based on the novel “North America Lake Monsters: Stories,” the frightful show will star some familiar faces, including actors from Star Wars and “Luke Cage.” Each of the eight episodes has a different director including two who have worked on regional films before: Desiree Akhavan ("The Miseducation of Cameron Post") and Kevin Phillips ("Super Dark Times"). As the series name would hint, the show isn’t without its Gothic beasts—fallen angels, werewolves, and the like—though these may pale in comparison to the desperate machinations of broken humans fumbling blindly for redemption. Watch the trailer.
“The Hudson Valley Film Commission primarily worked on finding extras for the "Mardis Gras" scenes that took place in uptown Kingston, during several very cold days in November [2019,” says HVFC director Laurent Rejto. “The series went by the name "Daylight Daycare" and rented thousands of room nights at local lodging establishments including Best Western and Holiday Inn Express.” “Monsterland” is scheduled to premiere on Hulu on October 2.
“The Undoing” | HBO | 10/25
In “The Undoing,” starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman, a wealthy couple’s perfect life implodes overnight, when a terrible death triggers an avalanche of revelations and scandal that not even their status can suppress. Written by the award-winning writer of “Big Little Lies,” David Kelley, this limited series was the biggest production of summer 2019.
It was partially filmed on Route 209, with additional scenes on the Wurts Bridge in Kingston, in the town of Esopus, and at Tech City with a crew of more than 250. “The ability to close Route 209 for filming was the primary reason that this HBO series moved production to Ulster County for a week,” says Rejto. Both executive producer Celia D. Costas (A Quiet Place, Taking Woodstock) and writer David E. Kelley ("The Wire," "Treme," and “The Plot Against America.”) have both worked on films in the region before. “The Undoing” is set to premiere on HBO on October 25.