Ready, set, wait. Waiting is pretty much what you’ll be doing if you are lucky enough to get onto the set of a movie in the making, but hearing that first snap of the clapboard makes it all worthwhile.
Filming for Joss Whedon’s independent film, “In Your Eyes,” wrapped up in Bedford, N.H. on March 8th. Given Whedon’s resume of hits, including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly” and Marvel’s super-hero film, “The Avengers,” I knew I needed to jump at the chance to check out the action.
“In Your Eyes” is being billed as a “metaphysical romance.” Starring Zoe Kazan, Michael Stahl-David and Mark Feuerstein, the story involves two characters with polar opposite personalities who are physically separated but become deeply connected in ways neither could have fathomed.
Matthew Newton, director of the New Hampshire Film & Television Office, made my on-set visit possible. “In Your Eyes” is one of New Hampshire’s biggest productions to date, and Newton is thrilled about it.
“This is going to help [New Hampshire] in the independent movie scene,” he says. “I’m really interested in creating a niche with the smaller, low budget films, and this movie is a great way to kick-start that.”
Newton first heard about the producers’ desire to film in New Hampshire in early February, and by the end of the month, the swift, 10-day filming schedule had begun. The legwork involved in putting together a project like this on short notice was significant, and Newton rose to the challenge. His time on movie industry panels, in film workshops and in community relations has prepared him to be ready the moment Hollywood calls.
It was New Hampshire’s “New England” vibe that caught the producers’ attention, as well as their desire for snow in the landscape. Chasing what little snow we’ve had this season pushed the crew north.
“We can take something that comes in this quick,” says Van McLeod, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources. “Because we know who to call and in which community we can make things happen, and Newton is the guy who does it.”
Upon my arrival at the Bedford Village Inn at 4:30 p.m., extras were milling about, dressed in formal wear, and the dining room was being prepped for a fundraiser scene. Set lights were adjusted, and tables set with dinnerware and food to resemble partially eaten meals.
An hour passed before the director, producer, crew and actors arrived from their previous filming location. The mood took on a serious tone as cameras were set up and Michael Roiff, producer, and Brin Hill, director, settled into their chairs behind the monitor.
Over the course of the next hour, background actors were called to set and rehearsal shots were under way. Actors Feuerstein, Kazan and Richard Riehle took their seats at the banquet table and began to run through lines.
The first official action call didn’t take place until 7:30 p.m. and filming continued into the wee hours of the morning.
Moviemaking is always a lengthy process, but working on a small film like “In Your Eyes” offers unique rewards, according to Roiff.
“It is a lot of fun. Something bigger is sometimes a bit more of a machine, and in this case you get the opportunity to do things creatively, the way you want,” he says.
Roiff also enjoyed filming in New Hampshire.
“I’ve never shot anyplace in my life where the people were more helpful, nice and welcoming,” he says. “Matt Newton and the film office were fantastic. It sounds cliché to say it takes a village to make a film, but in this case, we actually had the entire village helping us. It was pretty great.”