Putnam Seeks Starring Roles

the affair extras 2015

Extras wait in the foreground for their turn to walk through one of the Main Street scenes in Cold Spring during the filming of "The Affair" in 2015. (File photos by M. Turton)

County initiative hopes to lure productions

You could not write a better scene. 

Laurent Rejto, the executive director of the Hudson Valley Film Commission, said on Dec. 11 that, right after ending a phone call with me to discuss Putnam County’s new effort to lure film productions, he was contacted by a friend needing a location for a CBS television series. 

The producers were looking for a “bucolic-looking farmhouse in Putnam County,” Rejto said, similar to the farmhouse from the 1967 movie In Cold Blood

It’s the kind of call Putnam officials and Rejto hope will become more frequent because of Film Putnam, an initiative to bring productions here, along with their spending and hiring. 

The Putnam County Economic Development Corp. and the county Department of Tourism and the Putnam Industrial Development Agency have each contributed $4,000 to contract with the HVFC to market the county, said Kathleen Abels, president of PCEDC. 

letter to three wives

A scene from A Letter to Three Wives that includes the Cold Spring bandstand, at right. The film won two Academy Awards.

In addition to developing a portfolio of locations and building a database of actors and production professionals, Putnam is searching for a building suitable to house a 7,000-square-foot production facility for interior scenes and editing.

Dutchess County, which has provided locations for films such as the 2018 thriller A Quiet Place and the HBO miniseries The Undoing and I Know This Much Is True, is established with the industry, Rejto noted, but some producers also have crossed into Putnam to shoot because of its proximity. For that reason, “it seems silly to not include Putnam County” in the commission’s promotion efforts. 

Scenes in Putnam

A Letter to Three Wives 1949 | Cold Spring [Watch clip]

Hello, Dolly! 1969 | Philipstown

Malcolm X 1992 | Putnam Valley

Smoke 1995 | Garrison

Our Idiot Brother 2011 | Cold Spring

The Affair | 2015, Showtime | Cold Spring

The Jesus Rolls 2019 | Philipstown

What Breaks the Ice 2020 | Cold Spring

For Putnam officials, the county’s strengths are many and varied: settings ranging from farmhouses to main streets; the Hudson River, lakes and mountains; and historic and iconic buildings. 

Among other locations, it will pitch producers on the Boscobel House and Gardens and the Castle Rock residence in Garrison, The Chapel Restoration in Cold Spring, Magazzino Italian Art in Philipstown, the Brewster train station, the historic Putnam County Courthouse in Carmel and Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster. 

Last year, film productions spent about $46 million in the Mid-Hudson region on 42,000 hotel rooms, catered meals and other expenses, and hired 4,000 actors and extras and more than 500 crew members, according to the HVFC. 

7 thoughts on “Putnam Seeks Starring Roles

  1. Don’t forget the final episode of “The Sopranos,” filmed on Lake Oscawana, and “Mona Lisa Smile” with Julia Roberts had a scene filmed on the lake.

    • My county will not ensure a testing site for COVID-19, but is luring actors into town? Blarmey to that — we need to contain the pandemic first!

      • Production companies test all crew and talent days and immediately before shooting. Fast (15-minute results) tests are given in the parking areas before anyone leaves their car or enters the location site.

    • Most film companies that shoot in Putnam locations arrange housing for their talent and crew who do not live within commuting distance. Film companies located in New York City like the Hudson Valley region because almost everyone working the shoot can go home when the day is done, thus, the costs for Hudson Valley locations represent a significant savings on production costs.

  2. Perhaps Film Putnam could help the Village of Cold Spring to deal with the costs of tourism that these ventures generate. Maybe garbage removal? County government cut the pittance they gave us for this purpose ($7,500) even as crowds surged on our Village’s public streets and in our public parks, thanks in no small part to County efforts to promote tourism.

    Have a look at the locations listed in this article. They’re mostly in western Putnam, and in our Village. I understand the value of such initiatives to our local and county economies. But when county government undertakes initiatives like this — initiatives that boost visitors and investor business — we really need partnership from the county to offset costs and impacts to our infrastructure and public facilities. The County needs to share not just in the benefit, but also the responsibility to maintaining quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

    Foley is a member of the Village Board.

  3. Oh, ugh, Putnam County kills almost everything it touches. Why can’t we get real businesses and real jobs? [via Instagram]