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Friday, April 15, 2016
At left, Norm Sham as McGuire talks with Greg Stuhr as Charlie Paczynski while filming "The American Side" at the Lockport Locks in 2013. (PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY FRANK BARRERA)

By +Scott Leffler

BUFFALO -- "The American Side," a movie filmed throughout Western New York -- including Lockport -- in 2013 will make its world debut April 22 at the North Park Theatre on Hertel Ave.

The premise of the movie involves a missing notebook stolen from the hotel room of Nikola Tesla following his death in 1943. The notebook is said to have held ideas for a free-energy system, a death ray and other science-fiction sounding ideas. In the movie, one of the pages is found, leading to a tale of murder and intrigue -- all set in Western New York.

It stars Greg Stuhr, originally of Eden, and features Hollywood stars Matthew Broderick, Robert Forster, Robert Vaughn, Janeane Garofalo and Camilla Belle.

The Lockport locks serve as a crime scene during the upcoming movie, "The 
American Side," The movie premieres April 22 in Buffalo. (SCOTT 
The movie was filmed primarily in Buffalo and Niagara Falls over the course of 23 days with a small portion being filmed at the Flight of Five in Lockport on Aug. 19, 2013 including appearances by a pair of Lockport Police Department patrol cars, an SUV and three officers — Lt. Sal Licata, Det. Kevin Schrader and Officer Aaron Belling.

Stuhr produced the movie and wrote the script with the help Jenna Ricker, who directed the flick.

The pair said writing a story around the facts and legends of Tesla proved interesting. "If we told the real Tesla story, no one would believe us," Stuhr said. "I think our fictional story was more believable."

"One of the things that Jenna and I liked about each other is that we both thought kind of big," Stuhr said when asked how the pair landed the likes of Broderick, Forster, Vaughn, Garofalo and Belle for an independent film.

In the end, it was the script that won the stars over. "One of our mantras was that we were never going to say no to ourselves," Ricker said. "At the end of the day, the script had to speak to them because the money definitely was not."

Due to the film being made independently, the duo was forced to raise money themselves to market the film. Their Kickstarter raised $89,526 of $65,000 hoped for with a large portion of it having been raised on the last day of the campaign.

While Stuhr is from Western New York, Ricker is not. But she says her time here made her a fan. "I'm not from WNY but I've fallen hopelessly in love with it and I can't wait to come back with another film -- with another project."

Tickets remain available for the North Park premiere. They can be purchased online (link).

"We want to encourage people to come see how great Buffalo looks on screen," Stuhr said.

Following Buffalo's world premiere on April 22, the film will make its New York premiere at the prestigious IFC Center on April 29.


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