Everyone clear the store. Essential personnel only. It’s time for the emotional scene.
A man straightens his tie, then stretches. He throws air punches to psych himself up for the moment. Action.
A woman lies on the ground lifeless, arms outstretched, her shirt stained with blood over her heart. The man holds her head. He breathes heavily, then sobs.
This was the scene inside Parker Pharmacy on Hertel Avenue Thursday night, where the filming of “Prescient” made its latest stop. “Prescient,” an independent feature set to debut in February, is being filmed exclusively in Buffalo, thanks to producer John Hannon.
This is the Amherst resident’s fourth movie in Buffalo. Filming, which started May 14 and is to continue through June 2, has already taken place at the Erie Basin Marina, the Ellicott Square and the Darwin Martin House.
“What we’re trying to do here is do a great story, a great story set in Buffalo, and really the new Buffalo,” Hannon said. “We’re providing beautiful locations, and we’re not providing post-apocalyptic, rundown factories or things of that nature. We’re really showcasing the beauty of Buffalo and the new Buffalo.”
The protagonist has a genetic characteristic that allows him to see into the future. When he intervenes with the course of history, it sets off a chain of detrimental events. Hannon said the scientific film ties in Roswell Park and the Human Genome Project.
Hannon completed his MBA at the University at Buffalo and, though he still lives in town, spends much of his time in Los Angeles. He persuaded his friends and business partners to do a film in Buffalo because of the locations and the cast he knew could fill in. Aside from the two protagonists, the rest of the actors are from Buffalo or Rochester.
Michael Piccirilli, the lead actor, lives in LA but hails from Australia. He brought his bike with him to Buffalo and estimates he has already covered 250 miles. Thursday, he ventured into East Aurora.
“I’ve really seen a lot,” said Piccirilli, who starred in 2010 Sundance Film Festival winner “OBSELIDIA.” “I like the vibe. It’s a different culture. I’ve met just great people and have hooked up with other people since I’ve been here that are not involved with the film.”
Rich Wall, director of operations for the Buffalo Niagara Film Office, arranged Thursday’s shoot at Parker Pharmacy. Though a national company would likely have required a significant payout and “millions of layers of bureaucracy,” as Wall put it, pharmacy owner Barbara Madison said she was grateful just to have the exposure.
“It’s incredible what John Hannon has worked out with the locations,” Wall said. “They take advantage of a lot of the great locations we have, and that’s a priceless asset … imagine how much it’d cost to have a studio build a Frank Lloyd Wright house.”
Wall said he expects four films to have completed shooting in Buffalo by the end of the summer. Last summer, bigger projects like “Tammy” (Niagara Falls) and “Best Man Holiday” (Ralph Wilson Stadium) filmed in the area.
“Prescient,” which will run about 90 minutes, will be submitted to film festivals including Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes. Hannon said it will debut at Buffalo’s North Park Theatre.