KINDERHOOK — After stops including Europe and New York City, a Sundance Festival entry hopeful started filming in the village of Kinderhook on Wednesday, shutting down Church Street to all but local traffic.
Principal photography on “The Climb,” a First Look film financed by Topic Studios, continued Wednesday at a historic home at 3 Church St. and will continue through Thursday. Then the cast and crew will move on, stopping in various places through the state, filming at several other locations.
“People are so helpful in this area,” production coordinator Alexandra Mauriello said. “Towns have opened parking lots, churches and houses to us for the shooting.”
“The Climb,” directed by Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin, is a full-length version of a short film of the same name, also directed by Covino and Marvin, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
The film stars both directors, along with Gayle Rankin, whose credits include the P.T. Barnum musical “The Greatest Showman” and the Netflix original series “Glow.” The film also stars Rachel Kylian (“Almost Christmas” and “Counterpart”) and Alexander Blaise (“Ocean’s 8” and “The Devil Wears Prada”).
“So, basically it was a short film that went to Sundance last year,” locations manager Jess Ford said. “It did great.”
The plot of “The Climb” revolves around the friendship of two men, spanning 10 years. The two experience trials and triumphs through life, as close friends do.
“It’s a journey through adulthood,” Mauriello said. “It has a real sweetness to it.”
Shooting closed Church Street from the corner of Route 9 to the corner of Silvester Street.
Most of the filming was done at 3 Church St. and on the road in front of the house.
“It’s great, I love having them,” Mayor James C. Dunham said. “It is nice they are filming nice historic buildings.”
At least one behind-the-scenes figure has ties to the area. Noah Lang, son of actor and Kinderhook native Stephen Lang (“Avatar”) is one of the film’s producers.
The crew has also done filming in France, which is where the film’s plot takes place; Chatham, notably at the Crandell Theatre; Lake George; and New York City.
The film’s visual style is modeled on “The Revenant” and “Birdman.” Each scene is a single, unbroken shot, Ford said.
“This is really part of the vision that Mike and Kyle have,” Maureillo added.
“The Climb” is the second feature to be shot in the Twin Counties in the two months. “Shirley,” a thriller based on the life of suspense author Shirley Jackson, was filmed in Catskill for much of August.
Shooting is expected to be completed in October, when Covino and Marvin will then prepare a rough cut to submit to Sundance Film Festival officials.
“We love this town.” Mauriello said. Mauriello praised the town for the hospitality shown to the cast and crew. “Coming from L.A. it is almost unheard of.”