ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – This summer has seen two different film projects find their way to the City of Elmira, bringing the Southern Tier to the silver screen. But Elmira has connections with Hollywood dating back to almost the dawn of the movies.
The week of August 15, a section of Beecher Street was closed for the movie “Flood Line” by filmmaker Sophie Feuer. The project was also set to film in surrounding towns.
And on August 19, Horseheads native and Hollywood producer Linda Miller took auditions for her short film “Babbo”. The movie is about an elderly Italian immigrant in the 1970s who used to be a proficient bowler who uses his skills to thwart a group of thieves trying to steal his son’s television.
But these projects aren’t the first time Elmira has been filmed or even mentioned in a movie.
One of the oldest examples is in the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The movie takes place in the fictional Bedford Falls, and the real-life Seneca Falls, N.Y. believes it was the inspiration.
In one scene, the bank examiner directly mentions the Southern Tier, telling George Bailey, “I want to spend Christmas with my family in Elmira.”
But decades later, some films would actually be shot in and around Elmira.
According to IMDB’s listing of filming locations, one of the most high-profile films to be (partially) filmed in Chemung County was 1999’s “The Thomas Crown Affair” starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Crews shot a soaring scene near the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport.
Then in 2008, the independent horror film “The Moretti House” filmed scenes in Elmira. In the trailer for the movie (available here), exteriors are seen of the historic Pratt House, now home to Community Arts of Elmira.
Some scenes for the 2004 movie “Proud” about WWII U.S. Navy ships with African-American crews were also filmed in Elmira.
More recently, with 2016’s zombie movie “Here Alone”, Hollywood found its way to Upstate New York, filming in Steuben, Chemung and Schuyler Counties. The movie premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won the Audience Award for Best Narrative.
The 1995 movie “The Street Corner Kids 2” was shot in Elmira. One scene even heavily features the exteriors of various churches in downtown Elmira.
But even before any of these projects, Elmira has had long ties with Hollywood. Producer, director and screenwriter Hal Roach is one of the many famous faces born in Elmira.
And the future may be bright for the Southern Tier’s film scene. Last December, the new owner of a historic Elmira mansion said a production company visited the house as a possible location to film.
And highlighting the “phenomenal” architecture and scenery of the Southern Tier, Linda Miller said she hopes to bring more projects to the region and eventually a feature film, establishing a permanent film community that wouldn’t rely on bringing crews and equipment out of Rochester.