Director of Forged spills on Scranton, PA

Forged is a recently-released movie that explores the stories within deep family bonds and the quest for redemption. Directed by William Wedig, the movie was shot in Scranton, Pennsylvania in February 2009. According to Wedig, 2009 was actually the coldest winter in Scranton over the last 50 years. The cinematography in Forged nonetheless came out beautifully. The crisp and dreary shots of the naked trees sent chills down my spine when paired with the striking plot of the movie. I watched Forged in New York City just before it won Best Picture at the New York International Latino Film Festival. The New York Times just reviewed the film yesterday here. Check out this Q&A with Wedig wherein he dishes on what it was like to capture Scranton on film.

1. Who did the cinematography for your movie, Forged?

My cinematographer is a guy named Zues Morand. He does a lot of music videos and he’s super talented and really versatile. If you need somebody to shoot something, definitely look him up. Zeus Morand on shooting Forged: “The characters in Forged were all flawed and weathered. We tried to choose locations that were aged, rusted, and reflected the history they had seen.”

(That’s Morand, the cinematographer, in the green.)

2. Forged displays Scranton in a way I haven’t seen before. The footage of the landscape looked dreary, because it was winter, but simultaneously beautiful. How did you go about scouting locations for the shoot?

When we were trying to find our locations in and around Scranton, we wanted to make sure that we showed that duality between the dreary, lonely, cold nature of the place, and the beauty which exists in a place so rustic. We were originally going to make the film in Texas but it just seemed better to put it in a place that’s so cold and beautiful. It’s like the cloud that hangs over these characters because of the past never escapes them. It’s always a part of their world.

3. You shot in February 2009 and you say that was the coldest winter in Scranton in 50 years. How did your team cope with shooting outside for long hours at a time in this kind of weather?

Well shooting in those sort of locations was a challenge. I couldn’t feel my feet for about two months and we’d make fires in cans or find a nearby shelter so people could cycle in and out. Some places didn’t have heat like the Lace Mill which has been shut down since the late 80’s or so. It was gorgeous though and there was talk of converting them into studios which is a great idea. It made it hard with the snow, but when you believe in the story you’re telling, it really isn’t that hard to motivate yourself.

(That’s Wedig on the left and lead actor Perez on the right.)

4. I’m assuming that throughout the shoot, you and your team discovered a thing or two about Scranton. Have any favorite locations?

There’s a couple places in Scranton that I like. Lake Scranton is gorgeous and when I saw it I knew I had to shoot there. Russells restaurant is fantastic (and they even donated film to us), but they have amazing chicken and pasta, and the Mohegan Sun in Wilkes-Barre is always fun to hit up and spend a few dollars and maybe make some back. We had a great time there, and even had some interesting adventures with Zeus at Hardware Bar in downtown. We loved shooting there and really the whole town helped us out.

Forged has won more than the New York International Latino Film Festival. Forged received ‘Official Selection’ at the Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival, ‘Outstanding Film Award’ at the Providence Latin American Film Festival, and ‘Official Selection’ at the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Starring Manny Perez, Margo Martindale, David Castro, Jaime Tirelli and Kevin Breznahan, Forged opens tomorrow in NYC at Quad Cinema (34 West 13th street NY, NY). Forged is hitting the road, as well. Forged will be showing in Los Angeles tomorrow evening, in San Diego and San Antonio August 5th, in Dallas August 12th, in Miami September 9th, in San Francisco September 16th, and Chicago dates are coming. For more information, check out the the website: In the meantime, check out the trailer below.

Photo of the day: Centralia, Pennsylvania

Do you know the story of Centralia, Pennsylvania? It goes a little something like this: In 1981, there were over 1,000 residents in this town. In 2010, there were 10. A mine fire began burning beneath the city in 1962. The fire may have been started from none other than the town’s firefighters who had volunteered to help clear a dump by burning it. It’s speculated that the fire was never extinguished correctly. The flames spread to the coal mines and has been burning ever since–but how it started can’t be officially verified.

Congress allocated more than $42 million in 1984 for relocation efforts. No longer a safe home for the residents who had long called it home, Centralia looks like a ghost-town these days, no matter the remaining residents. I know because I visited Centralia myself last summer. This shot is of former route PA Route 61. Fun fact: when I returned to my car after taking this photo, it wouldn’t start. I had to get towed out of Centralia, Pennsylvania… which isn’t exactly an easy feat to pull off (calling a tow truck to a town that hardly exists).

Wish we’d feature one of your photos in Photo of The Day? Then upload your shots to the Gadling Flickr Pool, why don’t you?

Top 10 Maui beaches

The Hawaiian islands are known far and wide for the quality of their beaches. From narrow strips of volcanic black sand with dramatic jungle backdrops, to crowded beaches full of the who’s who of the world, Hawaii has a beach for everyone. Maui has just as much diversity as the entire island chain with over 30 miles of beaches. The most easily accessible beaches are located on the west and south or leeward sides of the island. Conversely, the north sees quite a bit of wind and waves while the eastern or windward side harbors more remote beaches in the inlets and bays.

With so many options of beaches to choose it’s hard to pick just ten, but we’ll pick our …

New York airport police turning theft complaints into lost property complaints

Something fishy is taking place at New York area airports. According to the New York Post, New York Port Authority cops regularly downgrade theft at the airport to “lost property” cases, artificially lowering the crime rates at the airports they protect.

By changing the statistics, crimes are no longer being accurately reported. According to the Post, Port Authority police captains regularly tell officers to rewrite reports. When filing reports, victims would report the events, and upon receiving the final report, things like grand-larceny turned in a basic lost property report.

Of course, with actual theft being reported as lost property, crime statistics are skewed and there will be no follow-up actions at the airport, allowing crooks to continue stealing from passengers without the true scale of their crimes becoming apparent.

When asked about the story, a Port Authority spokesman denies all the claims, saying “Every criminal complaint made to the PAPD receives a careful investigation.” Bottom line is simple – keep a close eye on all your belongings, and if something is stolen, be sure to verify that the police report stays accurate.

[Image: Flickr/Pheezy]

Plane Answers: Announcements from the captain and Denver turbulence

Rich asks:

Hi Kent, I love your blog and it has really helped me to relax when flying. When I was a kid and used to fly it seemed as though the flight deck would regularly update passengers about what was going on with the trip, the plane, etc. Now it seems as though most of the time I hardly hear anything. It would be nice to know if there is some turbulence coming up or something like that. The best flight recently was an “Express” flight where the pilot told us on the ground that we would be having turbulence the first 30 minutes and then at about the hour and a half mark. It really helped us relax.

Hi Rich,

I once sat in the back of a United plane flying from Denver to Miami when the passenger next to me grabbed my arm during what I would consider light turbulence. As her fingernails dug into my skin, she explained to me how she’d feel so much more comfortable “if the pilot would just say something!”

It left an impression on me. At my airline those announcements are entirely up to the captain, although we’re highly encouraged to keep the passengers informed without being a nuisance. As a copilot, I’m limited to a subtle reminder every now and then about a possible PA, since it would be a bit out of line for me to start talking on behalf of the captain.

We’re given a flight plan before the flight that depicts the reported turbulence at each waypoint along the route of flight, and we could easily incorporate that into our pre-departure PA. Of course, we run the risk when getting specific about the ride to be completely wrong-I’ve run across many flights that were advertised as smooth, only to find light or moderate chop many times during the flight.

Based on the number of fear of flying questions we get, I’m convinced that at least 20% of the population is afraid to fly and I would love to make them more relaxed. A quick PA detailing the forecasted ride conditions along the route is a great idea and I may just do that when I upgrade to captain. It’s already part of our standard briefing to the flight attendants.

Recently we had a nervous passenger on board who really wasn’t interested in coming up to the cockpit. So, while still on the ground, I took the flight plan back to him and showed him the turbulence reports for our flight down to Aruba from Boston. His eyes immediately fixed on our first waypoint, Nantucket.

“Nantucket?” He said. “That’s near where JFK junior went down!”

So I’m not sure if I was able to help calm him much. But the advertised smooth ride proved accurate and he seemed happy upon deplaning in Aruba.

Rich goes on to ask another question:

Second, why does every landing and approach into Denver seem very sketchy? Every time I fly into that airport we seem to make a lot of turns and it feels as though we are either getting pushed out of the sky or the turbulence is so bad that it seems as though the plane would be hard to control. Is it the altitude or the mountains? Thanks again!

Good question. Since the wind typically goes from west to east across the country, when it hits the Rocky Mountains, it will create rough air on the east side of the range. Imagine a large rock in a river. The upstream portion of the water flowing over the rock is usually smooth, while downstream the flow of the water over the rock is disrupted.

Pilots and meteorologists call this turbulence wave action, and it can extend for hundreds of miles ‘downstream’ of a mountain range. In addition, closer toward the mountains, dangerous ‘rotors’ can form that are curving curls of airflow that pack a significant punch. Denver is far enough away to miss this kind of turbulence, but it still sees a good share of rough air.

On nearly every transcontinental flight, you’ll notice this same ‘wave action’ generated turbulence even up at the higher altitudes. It’s the most challenging area to find a smooth ride.

As far as the airplane being more difficult to control, it’s similar to driving on a gusty day. The hydraulically actuated flight controls make it easy to react to some of the gusts, but it’s still going to be bumpy. Next time you fly, notice how it usually gets smoother just before touchdown.

Do you have a question about something related to the pointy end of an airplane? Ask Kent and maybe he’ll use it for the next Plane Answer’s Plane Answers. Check out his other blog, Cockpit Chronicles and travel along with him at work.