A Hollywood-based filmmaker who has already shot several movies in Western New York is back in Buffalo for his latest production. And Fred Olen Ray says he keeps finding new locations throughout the region, meaning his love affair with Western New York is far from over.
Ray, who has shot four movies in Western New York, is now working on what he describes as a "Christmassy murder thriller."
"It's a woman's thriller, aimed toward a female market," Ray explained. "It's sort of about a killer bride who is stalking members of her own wedding party."
Locations for this latest production include places in Lewiston, East Aurora and Buffalo. A native of West Virginia, Ray reveals he's fond of the offerings in Western New York that you cannot find in Los Angeles, where he lives for most of the year.
He has also come to rely on many Buffalo-area film production professionals again and again. While he brings crew with him from Los Angeles, he taps into the Buffalo talent pool every time he arrives for a new production. Ray says his ability to work with local production personnel has allowed him to create a system that ultimately makes the project run more efficiently and quickly.
"We hire as many people from Buffalo as we can," Ray said. "That's one of the things that keeps us coming back. We've learned who's here, what's here, where are things that we need. We found crews that we like and like to work with us. And so, we've sort of created a core group here."
One of those core personnel was sitting a few yards away as WBFO spoke with Ray, surprised by a birthday cake. Ray's current film project is expected to be finished and ready by the summer and he hints that his Buffalo crew may be working again in 2017. He continues to find new attractions in Western New York and from that, he continues to get new ideas.
"You always wonder if you're going to run out of new places. But every once in a while, the (Buffalo Niagara) Film Commission will call and say 'you said you liked lighthouses, would you like to see one?' I said yes, and so I scouted two lighthouses and am going to come back and make a lighthouse movie."
Meanwhile, one of his Christmas movies shot locally is set to air on cable television on Christmas Eve. "A Christmas in Vermont," which uses settings in East Aurora to portray New York's eastern neighbor, will broadcast on the Ion cable television network on December 24.