UPDATE [3/14/2017]: This episode has aired! Get the details here >
On a rainy, otherwise uneventful day in the Hudson Valley, the production crew of "Homeland," the show produced by Fox TV for Showtime, suited up in rain gear and wheeled carts of lighting and camera equipment into Key Food to film a scene that is slated to be in Season 6, Episode 8. The four-time Emmy-nominated show airs on Showtime and streams on Hulu, starring five-time Emmy nominee Claire Danes. A surprise actor is on the scene, who we cannot reveal (#spoileralert).
Anthony Ruggiero, city administrator for the City of Beacon, exclaimed: “This is a major film production and we are very excited. The film production crew has been excellent to work with and very accommodating.” Key Food had been approached by the production company weeks prior to today's filming, and the city was able to turn around the permits in one week. In addition to filming on Main Street, the production rented space from the Elks Lodge to set up and store trucks and equipment, confirmed Carl Oken, and from the Memorial Building on Main Street.
Trucks lined South Brett Street from Main Street to Verplanck, holding camera equipment, scenes, costumes, whatever a production company might need to work their magic in the shot. Key Food is scheduled to be closed all day, unless the filming finishes early, says Key Food manager, Junior Zayed. Junior's brother and fellow manager, JB Said, and two regularly employed cashiers at Key Food may also be in the scene - if their part doesn't get cut! Junior and JB are part of the family who owns Key Food.
Says Mayor Randy Casale about the production: “We are very excited that Showtime Productions' "Homeland" chose the City of Beacon for filming episodes of Season 6. This is an opportunity to showcase the city and add to the local economy. Filming production is a growing industry in New York, and Beacon’s historic Main Street and natural beauty are perfect for a variety of movies and shows. We would like to attract other quality productions. On the set today, talking to a few of the 100 employees of the production, there was a buzz about Beacon, and several commented on visiting and moving here.”
The creative team for "Homeland" was looking to film on country roads, and selected the Hudson Valley as the best place to find what they needed. As for filming in Key Food, they needed a nondescript town - and apparently a large grocery store - to hunker down in for the day and film, according to a source familiar with the production company. The show is also filming in Putnam County today, possibly at the Country Side Motel.
Signs of More Filming in Beacon?
While the new tax break that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into legislation recently (offering production companies a 10% tax break for filming in Dutchess and Ulster Counties) would be an incentive to film in Beacon, "Homeland" was not able to take advantage of it this time, since they were already filming in the area when it became law, according to a source familiar with the production. That source speculates, however, that the tax incentive will have a positive impact on the communities upstate. The City of Beacon was paid a $50 application fee plus a $2,500 filming fee, and was reimbursed for the use of three police officers, according to Ruggiero. Stores impacted by the filming, such as Key Food, are customarily compensated as well.
As actress Mary Stuart Masterson said in an article in the Poughkeepsie Journal about the tax incentive: “I can't wait to work where I live." Stuart Masterson is a Dutchess County resident, and hopes to open a film production facility in Ulster Country. Located right here in Beacon is the CineHub, a production resource center and studio for filmmakers and video professionals in the Hudson Valley.
Filming outside of New York City costs production companies more in terms of hotels, gas and other accommodations, but they also must pay their crew and actors extra to "go beyond the grid," which is a distance boundary negotiated by labor unions like the DGA and SAG to prevent their union members from traveling too far without compensation. The last movie that filmed in Beacon, one based on a Katie Fforde novel, was not a union job.
Terry Nelson, founder and executive director of the Beacon Independent Film Festival, had this to say about this filming event: "Having 'Homeland' filmed here is a great thing. It’s going to be good for Dutchess Country to do more shooting here, as opposed to having all films being shot across the river, which happens with shows shooting in Newburgh to make it look like Brooklyn. Films are starting to come on this side of the river, and I hope it continues."
Nelson feels that if there were a functioning film commission in this area, "that would be really helpful to look out for local crew to be hired if possible. This is a great start. I’m feeling optimistic about filming in Beacon." According to the production company, local crew were not hired for this job, which can be difficult when a production company for a TV show already has a team and rhythm in place.
Tune into Showtime to see the episode! As in all film and publishing projects, one never knows what will make it to the screen and what will be left on the cutting room floor, so tune in when Episode 8 of Season 6 premieres!
Please note: This article may be updated with more information as we get it.
Photo Credits: All photos taken by Katie Hellmuth Martin, with the exception of the screenshot of Claire Danes, which was taken from Homeland's homepage.