Behind the scenes of ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

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By Sari Greenberg

Last year I interned on the movie The Place Beyond on the Pines, and attended the premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday, September 7.The film is about a motorcycle stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) who starts robbing banks to provide for his new family.I don’t want to give away too much about the movie, but it also stars Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta and was shot entirely in the Schenectady area.Another thing that you should know about this movie is that it is really three different films in one.The director, Derek Cianfrance does an excellent job of handing off the lead to different characters throughout the film.Viewers may expect a similar film to the movie Drive, given that Ryan Gosling played a similar sounding character in that movie recently, but I can assure you the two films are nothing alike.While Drive has less dialogue and uses its music to help tell the story, Pines has a meaty script and a more complicated plot.Interning on this movie gave me a new perspective on Schenectady. Because Cianfrance is big on shooting on location, we went to every corner of the city.I went to places I would never have gone to, like The Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady, if I had not been involved on this set. I now know much more than I ever imagined there was to know about the city I have lived in for the past three years.After the premiere there was a Q&A session and someone asked Cianfrance the inevitable question: Why Schenectady?“…[It is] a small town version of Detroit, and one of these American cities that was kind of struggling, that had seen easier times and that was kind of clawing its’ way back up…‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ is the translation for Schenectady in the Iroquois language…we thought it was very important to shoot it in Schenectady where the idea was born.”

Things to pay attention to while watching the film:1.  There’s a shot from far away that you can see the Nott in twice2.  Schenectady landmarks like Vale Cemetary and Ellis Hospital are also in shots in the film.3.  The cop characters in this movie are portrayed as crooked.  This isn’t just a fictional account of the police force in Schenectady. Rumors exist that the Schenectady Police Department is corrupt and these characters are intended to reflect that.4. My name is in the credits!

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