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Filmmakers eye Shelburne Falls for movie ‘The Judge’

It is reportedly one of two locations in the state being considered for filming. The Warner Bros. film is drama/comedy about an attorney who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral, and learns that his estranged father, a judge who suffers from Alzheimer’s, is suspected of his mother’s murder. The film will also star Vera Farmiga, who was nominated for an Oscar for “Up in the Air.”

If the filmmakers select Shelburne Falls, this will be the second major Hollywood feature film to be shot here within a year.

Last June, “Labor Day,” starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, was filmed in Shelburne Falls and surrounding areas. That movie was scheduled to be released this year; however, a release date for that film has not yet been announced.

Movie permits

Meanwhile, town officials from Buckland and Shelburne are drafting a permit procedure for future filmmakers who are interested in shooting scenes in the village’s commercial center.

According to Buckland Town Administrator Andrea Llamas, a draft proposal of permits and procedures will be on Buckland’s selectmen’s agenda for its April 9 meeting.

Shelburne Selectman Joseph Judd said the same draft will be on Shelburne’s agenda for the April 8 meeting. Judd said the permit procedure stems from lessons that were learned during last summer’s “Labor Day” filming.

It puts into place procedures for parking, street permit fees, usage areas, and what to do when fast decisions have to made by town officials. For instance, although each board of selectmen meets twice a month, extra open meetings had to be scheduled to approve an extended filming schedule on public roads, due to delays caused by weather.

Judd said the permitting process “would allow for an easier transition, if we’re faced with a similar situation. We have been considered (for film settings) in the past,” Judd added. “And now that we know that, we’re preparing for the future.” Judd and Llamas both said their selectmen’s boards have not been officially approached by movie officials to shoot scenes in Shelburne Falls.

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