Four new or upcoming films with ties to the Capital Region


Benedict Arnold: Betrayed Hero

Directed by Chris Stearn

Written by Tom Mercier and Anthony Vertucci

Release date: November 2, 2021

Benedict Arnold: Betrayed Hero is an unmissable visual tour de force that breathes new life into the story of one of the most controversial figures in American history. After decades of tireless research and years of logistical and filming planning, the efforts of Capital Region locals Chris Stearns, Tom Mercer and Anthony Vertucci, along with executive producer and chief historian James Kirby Martin, have come to fruition. to a timeless tribute to the enduring historical work of Benedict Arnold. heritage. With live re-enactments at historic sites in the Saratoga area, commentary from renowned historians, and impeccable cinematography, the film is truly epic. It is narrated by Martin Sheen and stars Band of Brothers actor Peter O’Meara as Benedict Arnold himself.

Writer and producer Tom Mercer first became interested in Arnold’s story while growing up in Saratoga. “When I saw the Boot Monument that was supposed to be a tribute to Benedict Arnold at Saratoga National Historical Park,” he says, “it intrigued me deeply.” After Mercer learned more about American history during his college years, he realized that many historians saw Arnold from a perspective different from his. “It became one of my missions to improve Benedict Arnold’s reputation,” Mercer says. “I think this film presents a more accurate and unbiased reflection of his life and historical contributions.”

From the start, the Saratoga community rallied together to help make the documentary. “From the Adirondack Trust Company who supported us in the beginning,” says director Chris Stearns, a native of Niskayuna, “to the State Troopers who took us over the Saratoga battlefield in helicopters, the film was truly a community effort. .” Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga hosted the feature film’s premiere with two special screenings in November 2021. The film is now available to stream on Prime Video, iTunes, Vudu, Roku and Vimeo.

“Here in Saratoga, our regional history is somewhat understated because it’s so tied to Benedict Arnold,” Mercer says. “By telling his story, he helps restore our region to its rightful place in history. It also reframes the narrative of what the Saratoga region contributed to the founding of the nation.

Saratoga-born director Josh Greenbaum is working on an R-rated talking dog movie starring actors Jamie Foxx, Will Forte and Will Ferrell.


Directed by Josh Greenbaum

Release date: 2023

With a star-studded cast that includes famous Hollywood icons such as Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx and Will Forte, wanderers promises to be a humorous and moving addition to director Josh Greenbaum’s cinematic resume. Born and raised in Saratoga, Greenbaum fondly remembers attending concerts at SPAC with his father as a young man. “He took me to see Eric Clapton for my first live gig,” says Greenbaum. “It was a really fun experience.” Greenbaum’s father also introduced him to classic films such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Come offwhich directly influenced his creative trajectory.

After graduating from Cornell University, Greenbaum eventually landed in Los Angeles, where he began a successful career in the film industry. Over the next 15 years, Greenbaum worked as a writer, editor, producer, and director for several high-profile television shows and movies, such as the Hulu documentary series. behind the mask and the fox new girlfinally directing the well-received comedy of 2021 Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar. Greenbaum’s new creative venture, wanderers, tells the story of a stray dog ​​who teams up with several other dogs to get revenge on his former owner. Using new live-action filming techniques, Greenbaum and his production team were able to bring the story to life in an evocative and compelling way. “When I first read the script, I was incredibly excited,” Greenbaum said. “The movie is an R-rated talking dog movie, but it’s not animated – we used real dogs. wanderers is a comedy, but I think audiences will be surprised at how emotionally honest it is. The film has a lot of heart and it was amazing to see the trainers working with the dogs on set. wanderers should be released in 2023.

As Greenbaum continues his career in the film industry, he remains grateful for the life lessons he learned growing up in Saratoga. “My mother was an English teacher at Skidmore College and she helped me grow as a writer. Growing up in Saratoga, I was also able to develop a real sense of community and group effort while throughout my youth I was captain of the football and lacrosse teams at Saratoga Springs High School during my senior year which helped improve the communication and teamwork skills that I use in all my creative collaborations today.

Saratogian Spencer Sherry with the cursed toy monkey from his upcoming Stephen King film adaptation.

The monkey

Written and directed by Spencer Sherry

Release date: To be determined

The story of the birth of Spencer Sherry’s next feature film has more exciting twists than some best-selling horror novels. Born just north of Oneonta, Sherry moved to the Saratoga area in 2017 after working in the film industry as a production assistant in New York City. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Sherry channeled her artistic passion into writing an adapted screenplay for her favorite Stephen King short story, “The Monkey.” Sherry originally intended to submit the script for The Monkey to King’s “Dollar Baby” program, whereby the acclaimed author grants independent and student filmmakers the license to adapt his stories for $1, on the understanding that they cannot make a commercial profit from it. Unfortunately, Sherry hit a disappointing hurdle when he realized “The Monkey” wasn’t
on the list of news originally approved for the program.

After shelving the story for a full year due to frustration and disillusionment, Sherry decided to take a bold risk. He contacted King’s agent in 2021 to ask if King would consider expanding the Dollar Baby program’s story selection to include “The Monkey”. Amazingly, he got the answer he was praying for: yes. After receiving the agent’s endorsement, Sherry teamed up with Capital Region-based filmmaker Joe Gietl. The couple are currently scouting locations for the project and plan to begin shooting the film in May. They are also actively fundraising and looking for producers to collaborate with.

As a die-hard fan of King’s books, Sherry refocused the scope and storyline of “The Monkey,” creating a project that draws heavily from the original story and its plot elements. “The story is a great example of everything I love about storytelling,” Sherry says. “The cymbal-banging monkey brings death into the film, but the fear comes from our struggle with the inevitability of our daily lives.” Sherry adds that he is incredibly excited to work with professionals from the Saratoga area and the capital on this project. “It’s important to me to make this film in upstate New York because the people who make films here have a real love and drive for filmmaking,” he says. “The projects I’ve seen come out of this area are incredibly personal and heartfelt, and I look up to everyone I’ve met in the local film industry.”

The short by Saratoga native Angela Sheil was filmed in Sedgwick, ME in September 2021. (Kiki Vassilakis)

The Double Walker

Writes, produces and made by Angela Sheil

Release date: May 2022

Saratoga-born filmmaker Angela Sheil’s debut short The Double Walker, is a visually arresting psychological thriller that speaks deeply to the power of artistic vulnerability. The film tells the story of a grieving young woman named Grace, who returns to her childhood home to find she may have inherited a sinister family curse.

Sheil found the inspiration for the film during a stressful semester at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. “One evening, I dreamed of a world in which everyone had a clone,” she says. “Each clone was looking for its ‘original’ and intended to kill it and take its place. I woke up sweating, grabbed a pen and some scrap paper from my bedside table, and the dream exploded on the back of a utility bill. I knew instantly that the dream was a message of ‘death to self’. I needed to get rid of who I was and start taking care of the the woman I wanted to become. Part of that transformation involved manifesting that message on film.

Just two days after the dream, Sheil completed the first draft of the script. In the years that followed, she continued to refine the script and returned to the Capital Region from the West Coast. After arriving in Troy in 2016, Sheil hooked up with Collar City-based film production company Chromoscope Pictures. She has since collaborated with them on a number of music videos, for which she served as actress, producer, gaffer and director. During COVID-19, Sheil emptied his savings to bring the screenplay to The Double Walker to life, bringing together a talented cast and crew from New York, Los Angeles, Portland, ME and the Capital Region. The Double Walker was filmed in September 2021 in Sedgwick, ME on protected ground surrounding the only warm water cove on the state’s coast.

After turning for The Double Walker was over, Sheil launched a fundraising campaign to ensure that all financial requirements for post-production were met. As the filmmaker eagerly awaits the premiere The Double Walker in May, she is thrilled to share her creative vision with the world. “The further I progress in my journey as a filmmaker, the more I realize that what is most important to me is vulnerability,” she says. “Transforming the joy and pain of what it is to be human and what it means to be vulnerable is the kind of cinema that interests me.”


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