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Film Crew Uses Local High-rise As NYC Backdrop

WILKES-BARRE – One block of West Market Street was closed to traffic for several hours on Wednesday as an independent film crew shot scenes for the upcoming film “Trust Me”.

Co-writer and film director Chris Fetchko of West Hazleton says the Citizens Bank Building on West Market Street made the perfect backdrop.

“Ninety-nine percent of the movie takes place in Wilkes-Barre, but we needed to film a New York City scene,” said Fetchko. “Its cheaper to do it here, than take all these people into New York.”

Fetchko said the film focuses on a man who gives up his business career in Manhattan to move back to Wilkes-Barre to help his favorite rock band.

A handful of people volunteered to be extras in the film, and Wilkes-Barre police closed West Market Street to traffic for several hours.

The lobby of the Citizens Bank Building remains empty after the bank branch left, but there are offices in the upper floors and luxury apartments are also being built.

“We thought this looks good. It has the revolving doors on the front. It sets back a little bit,” said Production Designer Chuck Yarmey. “Keeping all the shots tight, we think it’s perfect for New York City.”

Kevin Bartuski told Newswatch 16 that he did not realize that he walked through a movie set while they were filming, but he thinks some “movie magic” will help the corner look like Manhattan on the big screen.

“They`re going to get creative, they have to in order to make it work,” said Bartuski.

Other people who were watching the activity said they had their doubts about the setting.

“As for it looking like New York City, they`re going to have a bit of a hard time,” said Bryan Pienta. “I mean some of the buildings look like they`d be in New York, but some of the stuff over here, I don`t think it would work.”

The crew said they’re nearly done filming in Wilkes-Barre, and they plan on submitting “Trust Me” at the Sundance Film Festival this fall in hopes that a distributor will pick it up.

9 comments

  • Me

    If u need a NY backdrop. Go there.

    This is a problem. This is NOT New York and I wish people would stop thinking that way.

    We have enough NY infiltration here and they’re all illegal !!

    You want NY ,…..then take a 3 hr drive and go. This is Pa dammit !!!!
    Not some NYC slum hole

  • HaynaDude

    Moving from Manhattan to Wilkes-Barre qualifies one for the mental ward. Does the character also spout out redneck terms like “hayna” and the backwards “Wilkes-Barre/Scranton” like any true Wilksebarrean would?

    • Jer Tobin

      Usually you can find notices in Craigslist or through facebook nowadays for local stuff, but if you’re in larger markets like LA or NYC its much easier to just be a background extra since so much is going on and there’s more publications like actorsaccess or backstage getting the word out.

  • Jer Tobin

    Glad to see more film making happening in the valley. Also for anyone interested, the Vintage Theater in Scranton is hosting am independent film festival this Saturday at 7 PM til 10. Admission is $10 and covers light fare and wine. There is 11 of the best of the best international submissions set to play along with twelve 5 minute long films made locally for a film challenge that was issued to go along with the festival. All of the films involved in the challenge had to be no longer than 5 minutes and the teams had only two weeks to create them. Seating for only 80 people so please check the theater’s facebook page to find a link to reserve.

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