Filming Of Movie, First Allies, Set To Start In Mohawk Valley
Vernon, NY (WIBX) - A multi-million dollar movie project is getting off the ground in the Mohawk Vallley thanks to the Oneida Indian Nation. The movie, First Allies, is scheduled to start shooting in a couple of months. It's based on the book, "Forgotten Allies", which depicts the struggles of the Oneidas during the Revolutionary War.
Executive Producer Sid Ganis says all the elements are in place for shooting. "We haven't started shooting yet and we won't start shooting for another month or so but we're right now gathering the troops. The locations will be in this general area on the Oneida land and then elsewhere in the country and those locations are being chosen right now," Ganis said. Although the leading roles will go to Native American actors, there is an Open Casting Call scheduled for Monday July 25th from 10:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Event Center at Turning Stone Resort and Casino. Officials are looking for Extras, Production Assistants and Interns.
James Kirby Martin is the Author of the book the movie will be based on. He's also an Historian and History Professor at the University of Houston. He says he's always looking for ways to tell compelling stories. "This is a very very powerful story and furthermore this is a story that involves people, which have here before in many ways been left out of our, the way we've handled and the way we've handled the American experience. So, I thought it was very very important to try to work to broaden that base to become more inclusive in the kinds of history we write and the kinds of stories we tell," Martin said.
He says one of the special emphasis of the book is to develop the major Native American characters as real people rather than the "cardboard characters" as he says they are so often portrait as. "And, so that was one of the operating goals of the book and I think we managed to succeed in that capacity and I think people could then envision what we could do by taking those characters and moralizing them through film and through a major motion picture," he said. The Forgotten Allies was published in 2006.
Bob Burris, is one of the Executive Producers of the film and the Screen Writer. He said the story is important to him partly because of his Native American background. He said, "Having an opportunity to write a story on behalf of the American Indians across the country and to dispel a lot of the stereotypes, to really portray my forefathers in a historic truthful light is really important to me."
Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and CEO says the film will bring economic opportunity to the Mohawk Valley. "It's a good time to work on things that are more productive. I think spending our energy and resources on things that bring opportunity than just decry about the past makes a lot of sense. So, we're delighted to have [Oneida County Executive] Tony Picente here and Mayor Leo Matzke, and they know how important this is to focus on. Whatever the issues are, right now it's good to focus on those things that are positive, bring things to the community, bring economic opportunity to the community, I think film making is a real opportunity for us." Halbritter and film officials predict that the making of the film will amount to a multi-million dollar economic boost for the area as well as lasting job growth.