If you’ve ever seen the 2018 film A Quiet Place, you probably know the bridge scene where the Abbott family walks down the railroad and tries to cross the bridge. What you may not know is where this scene was filmed. This bridge is on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail right here in New Paltz. Other filming locations for A Quiet Place include the towns of Beacon and Pawling, and the town of Little Falls, all tucked away in the Hudson Valley.
While the Hudson Valley isn’t new to filmmakers, it has become an increasingly popular filming location over the past decade. In fact, the Hudson Valley Film Commission reported that 2021 was a record-breaking year in production, grossing a total of $57 million.
Some classic films shot in the area include the Oscar-winning film Splendor In The Grass (1961), starring Natalie Wood, which was filmed in High Falls, and the Oscar-nominated 1994 film Nobody’s Fool, starring Paul Newman filmed in Dutchess County and Poughkeepsie.
Recently, HBO’s The Sex Lives of College Girls was filmed at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, and another HBO show, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, was filmed in Saugerties. Even Marvel Studios has dabbled in the Hudson Valley, filming Avengers: Endgame in counties Ulster and Dutchess.
What makes the Hudson Valley so special? This region is home to cities, towns and rural areas. There are historic neighborhoods and modern creations alike. With varying landscapes from mountains to farmland, filmmakers have a variety of views to play around with. New Paltz is also home to the Mohonk Mountain House, a popular getaway for wealthy tourists, including some celebrities. Despite a sluggish tourist season with COVID-19, the Hudson Valley is still gaining momentum. In 2021, visitor spending increased by over 50%.
The Hudson Valley is no stranger to movie stars either. Many celebrities reside in the area seasonally, and with New York City only two hours away, it’s a convenient location. Both Robert DeNiro and James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, have homes in Ulster County.
When we think of movie stars and classic movies, we often think of Hollywood. California has warm, predictable weather, but the real reason Hollywood was such a popular place for filmmakers was a man named Thomas Edison. He had a total of 1,093 patents and owned the Motion Picture Patents Company. It was virtually impossible for filmmakers to be sued for infringing motion picture patents.
Filmmakers come to the Hudson Valley for exactly the opposite reason. You’ll have access to all four seasons, especially fall, the loveliest season in the Hudson Valley and the busiest with tourists visiting the fall landscape. “A Quiet Place” certainly used the fall season to emphasize the film’s spooky, isolating feel.
The icing on the cake for filmmakers was the production studio, which opened just last year in September 2021. Michelson Studios owner Eric Michelson opened the studio in hopes it would boost production in the Hudson Valley after a tough year with COVID-19. 19. It’s located in East Fishkill, a 50,000-square-foot building conveniently located an hour and a half drive from New York City.
The Hudson Valley Film Commission estimates that $38 million in direct local spending went to the production in the first half of 2022, and more is to come. Mary Stuart Materson, actress, director, producer and founder/president of Uppriver Studios, says filming in the Hudson Valley would benefit the economy. “It will be great for New York State if Upstate has a thriving TV business. It’s really what’s changing the economy, not the wandering seasonal flood of movies. It will help stabilize the film economy, community and industry. And then we can all do our art films in the summer. That’s the hope. TV projects can help build capacity to provide a permanent crew. Three teams deep: that would be the goal,” she says. A new Peacock show ‘Poker Face’ starring Natasha Lyonne is currently being filmed in Newburgh. Apple TV’s Severance was filmed in Ulster County and premiered in February this year. Attention Hollywood, you have competition!