Mount Vernon’s Cachet
By Derickson K. Lawrence
All attention was focused on the local election in the waning days of October in the City of Mount Vernon. The City’s leadership was soon to be decided and that was enough for some to believe nothing else mattered at the time.
But for others who were not politically transfixed, they may have noticed, among other goings on, several film projects underway - around City Hall – during the weeks of October 19 and 26, 2015.
Greeted with tents, film gear, long trailers, larger- than- life light screens, spot lights, and no-parking signs, in and around City Hall’s parking lot, steady streams of on lookers and employees gawked and strained to get a glimpse of lead actors in the SHO Time flick- the Affair.
Featured in the cable franchise’s first season, Mount Vernon City Hall, I was told, was an excellent location for the shoot, of the second season of the show.
Another perspective was offered by Mike Brant, Production Supervisor, for The Bleeder-- a biopic film in the works on Chuck Wepner. “Tax incentives and financial rebates from NY State make all the difference,” he said. Chuck, whose claim to fame was going 15 rounds with champ Muhammad Ali, and that his life story was the inspiration of the movie Rocky, trained and fought many of his title bouts in New Jersey. “For the location spots in New Jersey, given the NY State’s incentives, Mount Vernon is more viable,” Brant continued.
Yet a third perspective was offered by City Council President, Marcus Griffith. “Mount Vernon has all the features needed in the film industry to recreate locations based on a wide range of settings,” he proudly proclaimed. As he enumerated the features, he morphed into a sales pitch that would make any Mount Vernon resident blush. Of course, the local economy gets a boost with these types of projects. “We are grateful for all forms of revenue and notoriety to our wonderful City,” he concluded. So take note Mount Vernon, elections and leaders will come and go, but the fabric, culture and true grit of Mount Vernon endure.
Film crew - THE BLEEDER - Gramatan Avenue