He built it. They came. It was a whole big thing.
Bucking decades of Hollywood tradition, director Spencer Folmar decided to shoot the bulk of “Generational Sins” — his drama about two wayward brothers who return home to Clearfield County — in Clearfield County instead of, say, downtown Cleveland somewhere.
So if you’re watching the above clip and thinking “hey, that looks like JC’s Tavern on Route 53,” then go to the front of the class.
Folmar enlisted the help of dozens of local extras — ahem, background artists — to fill in the spaces around what looks to be a truly nasty bar fight.
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Hours ahead of the movie’s world premiere at the Rowland Theatre, the director explains the distinctly unglamorous process of making the scene a reality.
Q: So set the scene for us. How late into the film are we?
A: I think that’s near the end of the second act. It’s about 40- 45 minutes into the film when the bar fight actually breaks out.
Q: When did you shoot this?
A: We shot this Aug. 10 — maybe that date’s not spot on, but pretty close to then — of last summer. We had people from the area come out. Pretty much everyone in that scene outside of our talent are extras from the area, from Clearfield County.
Q: It looks like a full bar. Do you remember how many extras you had that day?
A: Maybe 50, maybe 70 people for hours and hours. I mean we started shooting at 9 a.m. and we didn’t get out of there until maybe 11 or 12.
Q: That night?
A: Oh yeah — and not all of the extras stayed that long, but we stayed that long and what was really crazy was that we had four or five air conditioners brought into the bar to try and keep the place cool because we knew there was a fog machine and the fighting and the people there and I bet, even with all those air conditioners, that it was still over 110 to 115 degrees in that room. By the end of shooting the only people left standing was myself, my cinematographer, my two talents and everyone else had pretty much passed out by the end of that scene.
A: Everywhere we go when we talk about what was hardest physically or a story from set it’s always that bar. It was crazy. It was very memorable just doing whatever it takes to get those shots.
Q: Did the scene turn out the way that you wanted it to? Did you get what you needed?
A: It really did. I mean, it was crazy because we definitely really, I would say, almost over shot. ... And some of those were really tricky right? To sell them, to make it look believable and not cheesy and there was breakaway bottles and stuff like that. ... It actually turned out better, I would say that. It actually turned out even better than we had hoped.
Q: So tell me about working with some of the local extras. What direction did you give them?
A: The local extras were really great. It wasn’t an easy set either. What happened is we used a band from the area called Fred Myers and the Red Neck Majority and they were great sports because they’re the band that’s in the film and they fake-played music for eight hours and the extras fake danced to music even though it was silence so that we could get actual lines recorded.
Q: Was there any mugging for the camera?
A: Oh yeah. People were definitely shooting eye lines and we found some of those in post-production. I don’t think in Hollywood people could have asked for anything more. ... What was so great about the extras here was that these are people who wanted the film to succeed and gave up their time and were energetic, enthusiastic weren’t asking when the next lunch break was or smoke break was. ... They were in it and I think that really helped the mood and the experience. It sort of felt like a real bar fight.