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Hamburg residents and locations featured in ‘Brandonwood’

A ROMANTIC THRILLER — Kyle Perry and Kathleen Deneckee play Brandon and Natalie in the film “Brandonwood.” Written, directed and edited by John Fink, the film premiered Oct. 4 at The Screening Room. Photo courtesy of Fink.
HAMBURG — The film “Brandonwood” encompassed the Southtowns, from its location footage to its cast.

John Fink, writer, director and editor of the film, premiered “Brandonwood” on Oct. 4 at The Screening Room in Amherst, during the Buffalo International Film Festival. Up against a handful of other movies, this film won the second place Narrative Award, at the festival.

The running time of the film is one hour and 25 minutes. It was produced by Tilke Hill, a Hamburg native. Approximately 80 percent of “Brandonwood” was filmed in the Southtowns and, of that percentage, Fink said that approximately 60 percent was filmed within Hamburg.

Fink earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in media study at the University at Buffalo (this film was his thesis) and received his bachelor’s degree in cinema studies from the University of Hartford. He currently lives in the city of Buffalo, but was born and raised in New Jersey. He said he was attracted to film in Hamburg because the area reminded him of his home town.

Movie scenes were shot in neighborhoods by the Palace Theatre and the Nike Base and a deleted scene took place at Great Harvest Bread Company. The casting of the film was also local.

“There’s always a problem casting local people,” Fink said, adding that it can be hard to “get to the good ones.”

Hill was given not only the responsibility of cast director, but she also performed in the film, as well. The cast was comprised of Kathleen Deneckee, Kyle Perry, Gerry Maher, Eric Mowery, Kelly Krose, Mike Sarcneli, Travis Hedland, Megan Deanna Smith, Darryl Hart, Andre Calon and Michael Morel. Many of the members are from Hamburg, including Perry, who played lead role as Brandon.

“Brandonwood” is about a struggling couple and the trials and tribulations the two go through.

“I wanted to tell a story about a couple ... that are torturing themselves, in essence, to be together,” Fink said, adding that he was inspired by the romantic “he said, she said” of things heard through the grapevine.

What influenced the themes of the movie? “I could just blame Bruce Springsteen,” he said, with a laugh.

The project began in 2006; the production journey lasted from the summer of 2012 until the movie’s release.

Fink said that he will continue to work out the production kinks of the film, such as its unmastered sound quality. He will then send it out to additional film festivals similar to the BIFF.

He is currently working on a 25-minute short film about Buffalo and the anxieties that have been developing with the city’s redevelopment issues. He is also working on another screenplay, which will be somewhat of an extension of “Brandonwood.”

Hill and Deneckee, also a Hamburg native, are premiering a horror film they produced, on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Market Arcade in Buffalo.

Watch the trailer here.


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