‘Look no further’ than neighbors for high-quality films, chamber breakfast panelists say

Rebecca Rideout, local video producer and owner of Told Video, talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Greenfield Community College on Friday.

Rebecca Rideout, local video producer and owner of Told Video, talks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Greenfield Community College on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce held its monthly breakfast at Greenfield Community College on Friday morning.

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce held its monthly breakfast at Greenfield Community College on Friday morning. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessye Deane speaks at the chamber’s November breakfast at Greenfield Community College on Friday morning.

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessye Deane speaks at the chamber’s November breakfast at Greenfield Community College on Friday morning. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Garden Cinemas co-owner Isaac Mass speaks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s November breakfast at Greenfield Community College on Friday.

Garden Cinemas co-owner Isaac Mass speaks at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s November breakfast at Greenfield Community College on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 11-17-2023 2:17 PM

GREENFIELD — The red carpet was rolled out at Greenfield Community College on Friday morning.

With the recent release of “The Holdovers,” which was filmed in Shelburne Falls as well as at Deerfield Academy and Northfield Mount Hermon School, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast talked all things film, as both Hollywood and indie film producers continue to be drawn to the area.

Chamber Executive Director Jessye Deane said the creative economy is expected to grow by 40% by 2030 and Franklin County is in a great spot to ride that growth with its natural beauty and wealth of talented residents.

“Our community is so entrenched with talent, which is wonderful because arts and culture and the creative economy is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world,” Deane said. “We want to contribute. We want to continue to grow Franklin County as a hub for arts and culture, and filmmaking is certainly an important piece of that growth.”

Panelists for the breakfast included Garden Cinemas co-owner Isaac Mass, local videographer and Told Video owner Rebecca Rideout, Ashfield Film Festival founder Harry Keramidas, Emmy-award winner and county resident Michael Haley, and Berkshire Film and Media Arts Collaborative Executive Director Diane Pearlman.

Mass talked about the role of movie theaters in the local economy — he cited a study that film screenings contribute elevated spending to other businesses to the tune of billions of dollars — and how partnerships between the theater and other businesses create mutual benefits for everybody.

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“We do our best to bring in this big economic impact to the small local market,” Mass said, highlighting partnerships with many of the business leaders in the room. “We also have a dream of a vibrant local economy where local businesses help one another and we understand we’re in a unique position to help back.”

Beyond local productions and promotions, production companies that come to the region provide a boon for the local economy, as seen with “Dexter: New Blood” in Shelburne Falls, which brought approximately $900,000 to the village, and with “Castle Rock,” which generated more than $750,000 in Orange when it filmed its first season there, according to Pearlman.

On the production side of things, Rideout, who has produced numerous video projects for businesses around the Pioneer Valley and for the chamber, said there is a “treasure trove” of directors, producers, writers and graphic designers in the region that thrive off the growing local support for the industry.

“[They are] kept going by your support, your word of mouth and your belief that professionals like this can live in a rural region and make high-quality stories,” she said. “To those who seek your next high-quality film or short video story, look no further than your neighbors right here in Franklin County.”

The Chamber of Commerce’s next breakfast is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 19, where the Greenfield Recorder’s Citizen of the Year will be announced.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.