CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- "I wanted to celebrate nerdiness" says Rob Meyer, the director of 'A Birder's Guide to Everything."
The movie, produced by long-time Chappaqua resident Dan Lindau, was filmed in several locations in Chappaqua, Somers, Ossining and Armonk last summer.
"It's a positive, young, and straightforward movie with heart," says Lindau.
"A Birder's Guide To Everything" is a coming-of-age movie about teenage birder David Portnoy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) struggling with the recent loss of his mother. He leads members of his local Young Birders Society on a search for an extremely rare duck on the eve of his widowed father’s (James LeGros) second wedding.
The Tribeca Film Festival's Film Guide describes the movie as "Sideways meets Stand by Me" and Entertainment Weekly writes "marvelous supporting performances by Ben Kingsley and James LeGros color Rob Meyer’s feature film debut, a poignant, funny and ultimately winning look at the moments that change even the most intensely focused lives."
Lindau says the production was a true community event. Interior scenes taking place in the Portnoy's home were filmed inside Lindau's house in Chappaqua while the exteriors, including the big wedding scene , were shot at Lindau's sister, Maggie Nielsen's, house also in Chappaqua.
"My wife was amazing. My daughter moved out of her room two months before going to college," says Lindau.
All outdoor nature scenes were shot at Teatown Reservation in Ossining. The Hickory & Tweed ski shop in Armonk was transformed into the "Birder's Junction" store for a day and a school scene was filmed at Somers High School . Jacob Burns in Pleasantville donated production office space and the Chappaqua Community Center served as a staging area.
"The neighbors were great. Everyone contributed," says Lindau.
Lindau first read the script, co-written by Rob Meyer and Luke Matheny five years ago. The project went through several re-writes and rounds of financing and then took only 23 days to film.
Most of the actors were cast shortly before filming started but Sir Ben Kingsley, whom the cast and crew respectfully called "Sir Ben" on set, signed on several years ago
"Kingsley's agent liked the script. And Kingsley stayed with it," says Lindau.
All four screenings at the Tribeca Film Festival are already sold out. Landau hopes to have several more screenings as a thank you for local residents at Jacob Burns in Pleasantville soon.
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