City, residents, school district play parts in film shoot

A scene from The Sisterhood of Night, filmed Saturday on the Rondout. (Photo by Phyllis McCabe)

Production on The Sisterhood of Night ended this week, but for many local kids involved in a variety of different ways in the Kingston-centered production, the memories will last long after the film is released. Working as extras and interns, many kids from the area had their first experience with Hollywood filmmaking without having to travel to Hollywood to get it.

Quinn Baganz is a senior at Kingston High School. An aspiring filmmaker with a YouTube audience, Baganz said he wanted to get involved with the production of the film as a precursor to a planned course of study in college which would eventually lead to a career in the industry.


“I was just going to do an internship for the film, but they made me an extra and then a character,” said Baganz. “I pretty much went along with it to learn, and [acting] never entered my mind. Not even close.”

Baganz wound up in a more prominent non-speaking role as Mike, best friend of a character named Travis. “I started off as an extra in the movie, and they liked me for some reason and made me a character,” Baganz said. “I guess I fit the character they were looking for perfectly.”

Amy Hutchings, a veteran casting director and Kingston resident, has been an instrumental figure in the production of the film. Based on a short story by Steven Millhauser, The Sisterhood of Night is billed as a teenage update of the Salem witch trials. Though set in a town in New Jersey, Kingston proved to be a perfect stand-in, said Hutchings. Though a small portion of the film was shot at George Washington Elementary, the bulk of the school-oriented scenes were shot on weekends and during off-hours at Kingston High.

“Kingston High School is fabulous,” said Hutchings. “It’s a beautiful school.”

Kingston Central School District Superintendent Paul Padalino said the production seemed like a perfect fit, not only because of the wide range of architectural options across the district, but also because it would give so many kids a chance to participate. In a high school with its own television station (KHS-TV) and a brand new media center (the Carnegie Library building), that’s significant.

“When they came with this idea, I thought it was a really exciting opportunity, and not only for some recognition for our school and our community,” Padalino said. “Are we making big money on this? No. Not at all. But the schools are there, they’re going to use it, and maybe somebody else will see it and other production companies will want to use them too.”

Hutchings has been casting child actors since first breaking into the industry with Sesame Street during its first 10 years on the air. She said something she learned early on is as true today as it was then: Experience isn’t always necessary.

“It really depends so much on the individual,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if they’ve been in front of the camera before. If they’re comfortable in their own skin, they usually can take to a situation like this.”

One thing extras and interns have learned is that film shoots take a very long time, and there’s a lot of waiting for something to happen.

“You show up in the morning, from probably 7:30 to 9:30, and then you sit around and pretty much wait for them so finish up a scene and call your name and you’re up,” said Baganz. “You do the scene, and then there’s lunch, probably six hours after you start. And then it’s the same thing again. There’s a lot of waiting, but it’s worth it.”

For Baganz and others working as extras in the film, little of that time was spent in wardrobe. For the most part, kids were given instructions on what they should — and should not — wear to the set.

“I had to go to wardrobe for two or three scenes, but other than that we wore our own things,” said Baganz. “We couldn’t wear anything with logos.”

The production made use of a considerable amount of local talent, though there are a few familiar faces in the cast. Kal Penn may be most familiar from the Harold and Kumar film series, or his regular roles on popular television series like House, M.D. and How I Met Your Mother. Kara Hayward, fresh off her celebrated performance in the Wes Anderson film Moonrise Kingdom, is one of the leads. But while some kids might have been starstruck at first, Hutchings said the down time on set often goes a long way in breaking down those barriers.

There are 5 comments

  1. Hanna Putland


    This article is great!!! I will keep in mind that area is perfect for filming and less expensive because I have considered being a director, actresses, screen writer, script writer designer, and producer.

    Hanna P.

  2. Hanna Putland


    I also, had to add that I should have came to New York because Hutchings is right. You really do not need experience, but can you handle it! I would have emailed Hutchings to be part of the film and maybe, as Emily Parris or Marry Warren changed to Marry Weather to be talked only to Hutchings why I would say that.

    If you read thus Hutchings; Please, some how let people through fansites be able to contact you or through the movie set website that would have information to contact you if they have questions are interested and who doesn’t necessarily have the money to fly over just to audition and not get any money back from auditioning for just a simple film or acting for a small film that would gain money to be able next time to fly out of town just to audition for a film like; Heartland which is a Canadian TV show & The Silver Chair & Kick Ass 2 & Movie 43 & Carrie 2 & Grace Unplugged & Relative Strangers& The Goodwife & Jane By Design: Season 2 & & The Amazing Spider-Man 2 & Perfect Sisters 2 and 3 & The Sisterhood of Night TV show & Final Girl which is filming right now & Haunter & Ender’s Game & Glee TV show & Virgin Mary & Les Miserable & August: Osage County. Those are all the films I want to do and some that are not on imbd and so on.

    The ones not on imbd:
    Zoey Deans Talent novel each movie of each book & Vixen which is a story of the daughter who fakes and lies about her real life to her mom which is she helps with boys who have lust problems and charges them what a prostitute would and her mom thinks she is having sex which her mother tries so hard to bring her up like a prostitute, but she never tells her until she gets to college.

    The ones that are books/films based on the books:
    Ask the Passengers by A.S. King & Confessions of a Murder Suspect by ames Patterson, Maxine Paetro & Small Damages by By Beth Kephart & Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson & Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore & The Story of Us by Deb Caletti & Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book 1 by Robin LaFevers & Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver & If I Lie by Corrine Jackson & Tilt by Ellen Hopkins & Over You by Nicola Kraus, Emma McLaughlin & Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris & The Fame Game by Lauren Conrad & City of Lost Souls: The Mortal Instruments, Book 5 by Cassandra Clare & Fever: The Chemical Garden Trilogy, Book 2 by Lauren DeStefano & Tempest by Julie Cross & Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen & Perfect by Ellen Hopkins & What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton & Talent by Zoey Dean & Almost Famous by Zoey Deans & Star Power by Zoey Deans & The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale & Princess Academy by Shannon Hale & Forest Born by Shannon Hale & Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson, Tristan Elwell & Daughters of the Sea #1: Hannah by Kathryn Lasky & Nancy Drew Graphic Novels by Stefan Petrucha, Sho Murase & more to come.

  3. Adrianna

    Great article. I’ll remember “The Sisterhood of Night” forever, the great people I met and worked with and just the overall experience is beyond words.

    I’ll definitely be looking for the movie after it’s release.

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