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Joshua Thomas
Actor Mu-Shaka Benson and Writer/Director Shanna Becker at the "Brink" wrap party Sunday evening.

Joshua Thomas
One of the film's lead actresses Mindy Miner.

Joshua Thomas
Matthew Becker takes professional photos of the cast of "Brink" Sunday.

Joshua Thomas
"Brink" cast members, from left, Kevin Miller, Michael Daniels, Kyrsten St. Pierre, Rocky Graziano, Christina Vinsick, Claudia Cardenas, Mindy Miner, Mu-Shaka Benson.


Cast and crew of locally produced film "Brink" celebrate

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - Updated: 9:52 AM


C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- On Sunday evening, a wrap party -- celebrating the completion of principal photography for the locally created, ensemble film "Brink" -- was held at Gino's Restaurant in downtown Canajoharie.

On hand was the large cast and crew, assembling to rejoice in a job well done and reminisce about their shared experience, including Canajoharie-based Writer and Director Shanna Becker, who said Sunday that she couldn't be more thrilled with the footage that has been shot for "Brink", a fateful, labyrinthine story she conceived and wrote years ago.

"We stuck right to our schedule," said Becker, explaining that principal photography took from September to December, as planned. All footage has been logged by the film's editing team and organized, and a rough edit should be complete sometime in March.

Following the completion of the rough edit of "Brink", the film will be reviewed and submitted to a composer (three are looking at the project now, ready to submit bids), and then it will undergo further editing for festival submission.

Becker explained that the film will be a third quarter submission to regional and national film festivals, with the possibility existing to submit the film to international festivals as well.

When all is said and done, Becker said she expects to have a fully completed film by summer. 

She noted that regardless of what happens at the festivals, the movie will have a premier, though whether it's a large premier or a small, local one with a selected audience will potentially be dictated by a distributor, should one secure the rights to "Brink".

"I am so excited -- it's beyond my expectations," said Becker of the film, continuing, "It has surpassed anything that I could've imagined or foreseen when I started writing and finished the script six years ago."

The movie was filmed at various places locally, including at the Village Restaurant, and at Lee Publications, Inc., where the character of a budding reporter, Adam's storyline begins. Portion of the film were also shot at the Canajoharie Academy of Performing Arts, where table reads and auditions took place last year.

Some of the actors performing in "Brink" are local, including Canajoharie Central School eighth grader Michael Daniels, who plays the substantial role of James.

Though the film wasn't Daniels' first acting experience, as he's been in various school productions and acted as an extra in the film "Half Dead," he noted that it proved to be his most challenging role yet.

The scene that most tested and bolstered his abilities, Daniels said, was a bank robbery. "I'm in there waving around a gun, and I'm crying, and it was really difficult for me," he said, noting that it took a good portion of a day to film just that scene.

The most rewarding part of the process, Daniels said, will be "seeing my name in the credits, and the experience I get from the acting."

Mu-Shaka Benson, of Utica, has one of the main roles in the film and explained Sunday that "Brink" was, by far, one of the most professional productions he's worked on.

"The audition was unlike anything I've been to before," said Benson, who read lines before a panel of six.

"I had to be on my game," he explained, continuing, "Shanna has a gaze that's really disarming, so I didn't know if I was doing well."

The entire process of shooting the film, he said, was made easy by the professionalism of the entire cast and crew, from Becker, a first-time director, to Director of Photography Marty Hardin, who storyboarded the entire script so that all involved could easily see and understand his and Becker's vision.

"I knew we were in good hands under her leadership," said Benson of Becker.

He also noted that Canajoharie was an extremely pleasant place to shoot the film, and one he hopes to return to. "I think it's a really nice area -- very quiet. I'd raise my family here," he said.

On that note, Becker highlighted the reasons why it was so important for her create the film locally, showcasing the place she grew to love throughout her life here. " A lot of people I went to school with -- the first thing they say is they can't wait to get out of here."

She continued, "Honestly, for me, I've never felt stuck here. I've always felt a lot of pride for this area, this region. it has so much to offer. I feel very amazed at watching some of the people I grew up with stay here, building lives for themselves and their families. They're doing great things, and that, for me, is all the more reason to stay here and grow this market, and this area, and let it flourish, and hopefully we can bring more attention to this part of the world."

Though a few opinions were unanimous amongst the actors and crew on Sunday evening -- the first being that everybody, Becker namely, was a pleasure to work with, the second being that the area was a pleasure to film in -- one thing that pretty much everybody agreed on, including Benson and Daniels, is that they can't wait to see "Brink". 

Benson explained that to not be tortured by the fact that if often takes months, sometimes even a year, from the completion of the actors' role to seeing a finished product, he has to "put it out of mind and not think about it." Daniels agreed, and said that he's not even telling his peers about the project until they'll be able to see it.

Watch the C-S-E for all pertinent information regarding the completion of "Brink", including festival and public screening plans.

Joshua Thomas - On Sunday, Gino's was filled with the large cast and crew of "Brink", celebrating the completion of principal photography.


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