Tales from ‘A Quiet Place’

Pawling was not a quiet place with a film production team in town

Pawling resident and business owner Carol Paterno was recently asked if she was invited to the Monday, April 2, red carpet movie premiere for “A Quiet Place,” which opened to the public the following Friday. The production company created this feature film in Pawling for five months in 2017, using Paterno’s indoor riding arena as a sound stage.

Paterno replied, “Yes . . . well, no. I was not invited to the red carpet premiere of “A Quiet Place,” which was in Manhattan. I understand that Wright Dykeman and his family were at that one. I was invited to both the Manhattan cast and crew Advanced Screening on Tuesday in Manhattan and also the Dutchess County Advanced Screening on Wednesday in Hyde Park. That second one seemed to be for those in Dutchess and Ulster County who had a part in the film’s production.”

The primary location for the film is easy to recognize if you drive along West Dover Road above the entrance to the Adirondack Trail. You will see the white vintage farmhouse on the west side and a grouping of picturesque red barns on the other side that are so critical in the progression of the movie.

Paterno is not a fan of horror movies but decided to attend the screening from a “technical standpoint,” as she described it, to pick out the Pawling settings and scenes she observed first hand that were filmed on her property. She found it so enjoyable and interesting, however, that she went the next night to continue that process!

Several Pawling Town officials and staff were present at the Wednesday screening including our current and past Town Supervisors who missed a Town Board meeting to attend. Wendel Weber, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, was also there with his wife since he assisted the film production at Lakeside Park by removing the gate near the old farmhouse off of Dodge Road so the film crew could have access. He was told to refrain from cutting the grass in that area for many weeks in advance so that it would have the right abandoned look for the movie.

Paterno lives a few miles south, which is why her large indoor arena was noticed by the location scout. When she saw someone sitting in a car near her mailbox one day, she thought they needed directions. Instead the driver asked her who owned the warehouse up the hill. “They were looking for something usable as a production facility close to the location they found,” she says.

They named it Great Swamp Studios because her company is called “Great Swamp Associates.” Says Paterno: “For this movie, the location scout invited Mary Kay Vrba, Head of Dutchess County Tourism, to tour my barn complex, after which the scout helped me with the paperwork to have my indoor riding arena approved as a Qualified Production Facility so that they could take advantage of the New York State Film Incentive and an incentive from the county.”

Vrba was thrilled to have another Qualified Production Facility in the county to add to two others that have been created in the last two years. “Bringing in more film business brings in a lot of money to the county and businesses in Pawling,” says Paterno. Many local businesses benefited. “The production team even brought boxes of leftover stuff to the Resource Center,” she added.

McKinney and Doyle was a regular hangout for cast and crew, farm related products were purchased at Utter Brothers, and The Book Cove got a nice surprise when whole shelves of the children’s section was bought out for use on the set. The same was true for North Winds Lavender Shop and The Yarn & Craft Box, which sold items that made the interior scenes look homey and rustic. Check out the baskets, candles, and fiber arts you seen on the screen when you watch the movie.

The whole Dykeman family became engaged with the production and had perhaps the most to lose when the road leading to their working farm and vegetable stand was blocked. Mandy Dykeman says the inconvenience was negligible compared to the benefits that included continuing friendships with members of the cast. She explains: “Various different departments would be here shopping for their personal meals, and the production catering team came here and purchased items. They also just liked having another farm close by where they could see certain things first hand. They were absolutely wonderful. The entire process with them was amazing. They worked with us, and they were in great communication to keep us posted on how they were going to do things so we could always get to our fields. They were wonderful. Yes it was a bit of an inconvenience, but we did not end up losing business because we have wonderful customers who made a little bit of an extra journey to get to us.”

Paterno, who was able to watch four of the scenes as they were being filmed, agrees: “The four months was quite a learning experience for me and Sam, my facilities manager. It takes so many people to support the making of a movie. I truly know that when the credits roll, each listed name is a person, but to actually have them walking around working on my hill, well, that’s a lot of people! It was fascinating. On the whole, it was a wonderfully positive experience.”