“Rolling! Action!” And West Market Street in Red Hook became the backdrop last week while a German television crew filmed a love story based on the popular romance novels by British author Katie Fforde.
Taste Budd’s Café was completely taken over for the shoot, since the plot is about a woman who follows her dream of moving from NYC to open a bakery/café in the Hudson Valley. Proprietor Dan Budd had been contacted by Van Wormer International, a film management company in Poughkeepsie, while enjoying a rare day off with his children.
“We arranged a site meeting, and they felt it was perfect for their script,” Budd said.
The production company was especially adamant about leaving the café exactly as they found it. They methodically photographed the interior before beginning their work. But they did rename it Fiona’s and they transformed the outside dining area by adding multitudes of fake flowers to the ones already there along with clusters of cafe tables and chairs and other assorted props.
With a six-day shooting schedule, West Market Street was closed for short periods of time when the cameras and crew needed to move into the street itself.
During the filming, Gina Reznitsky, assistant to the production manager for Van Wormer, spared some time to explain how everything was working out for them. And to answer the key question: “Why Red Hook?”
“We wanted to show the German people the beauty of the Hudson Valley. This is our fourth summer here, and we shoot three movies every summer,” she said.
ZDF Enterprises, which is part of ZDF, one of the largest television broadcasters in Europe, was making the film, “Summer of Truth,” as part of an ongoing series from Fforde’s novels, which are hugely popular with Germany’s prime-time audiences. Most feature Hudson Valley towns and scenery, but they are available for U.S. viewing only on the Internet.
Reznitsky’s many job responsibilities include dealing with local officials. “Red Hook was great. The officers and the mayor were wonderful,” she said.
Around the corner, the Red Hook United Methodist Church’s parking lot was filled with an assortment of vehicles, with extension cords snaked into the church’s education wing. Mark Chenkus, a church trustee, explained, “The church was approached by the production team with an offer to compensate for the use our parking lot and Fellowship Hall. The trustees unanimously approved the request.”
Mark’s wife, Lois, also a trustee, added, “I think the movie creates great public relations – for Red Hook and, in our case, for the church.”
And across the street, Diana Louie , proprietor of The Village Fabric Shoppe, was pleased that her store will be seen in some shots. The shop is well-known for its quilting supplies, classes, and sewing needs in general, but the plot required that it appear to be an antique store.
“It’s been a very amusing week,” Louie said. “Visitors asked where the antiques were. I told them I do have antique quilts.”
The Hudson Valley Film Commission has welcomed the Katie Fforde filming since 2009.
“Thanks to these productions, hundreds of people and vendors have been hired, and it’s foreign money coming to benefit this area,” HV Film Commissioner Lauren Rejto said. Last year, HVFC calculated that over $3.5 million had been generated in local economic activity through jobs, equipment rentals, accommodations, catering, and other expenses during the shoots.
Dan Budd was also pleased with the film. “It was a great opportunity to give the staff a break, since we are only closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I think the film brought an economic stimulus to the village,” he said.