IMDB. Local report. From ABC News/Mr. Showbiz website. Reviews at IGN, The Trades, Digitally Obsessed, and Thanks to John Mellencamp's site for news. Thanks to IGN for the images.

Public can watch Wednesday as filming for Mellencamp flick begins at High Falls

(May 9, 2000) -- With a call for quiet and the loud whack of a clapboard, director Bob Manganelli tomorrow will shoot scene one, take one of After Image at the High Falls on the Genesee River.

Performing before his cameras will be singer-turned-actor John Mellencamp and actress Terrylene. They'll play a couple in a heart-to-heart conversation on the island just below High Falls, clearly visible from the Pont de Rennes pedestrian bridge and other sites on the rim of the High Falls canyon.

The $1.4 million movie promises to turn Rochester into a mini-Hollywood for six weeks. With any luck, it could put our community on the nation's movie screens within a year. Though a low-budget film by Hollywood standards, After Image is the most expensive, potentially mainstream movie ever to be shot within Rochester city limits. The area's most successful film, Frank LaLoggia's 1988 well-received thriller Lady in White, was shot in rural areas around Lyons, Wayne County.

Virtually all of Manganelli's psychological thriller will be filmed in the streets and buildings of Rochester. The filmmaker, a 1983 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, will use city streets, alleys, the Public Market, the Charlotte harbor and other segments to bring his dark thriller to life.

Mellencamp plays a disillusioned crime scene photographer who has returned to Rochester to live with his aunt (played by Oscar-winning actress Louise Fletcher). He meets and falls in love with a woman (Terrylene) whose psychic powers soon entangle them with an ominous killer (Michael Zelniker).

Producer John Cocca says curious on-lookers will be permitted to watch filming, usually from behind barricades and with admonitions to be quiet at specific times. "They must be well-behaved, quiet and cooperative," he said. "But please, please, come and be a part of this."

The production team, he said, hopes to make more movies here in the future, but much will depend on how well the public cooperates. Filming is to begin at High Falls at about midday Wednesday. Thursday morning, the crew heads for the Public Market, 280 N. Union St. "We're doing it on a real market day, with 20 or 30 extras mixing with the real people," Manganelli said. "We're hiding our camera and using a long lens. Hopefully, the public won't notice the camera until they're already out of the shot."

(If you happen to walk into an After Image shot at the market or on a city street over the next six weeks, remember the No. 1 rule: Don't look at the camera; that's a guaranteed way to be cut from a film.)

Manganelli said they are shooting all interiors and exteriors in the Rochester area but plan to shoot most of the outside scenes in May. "My hope is that we get a lot of cloud cover and rain. That's one reason we came here," he says. "We're trying to get our exteriors done in May, because they say there's more sun in June."

Manganelli, an Allentown, Pa., native, has worked in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. He switched from still photography to filmmaking, studied film at UCLA, and developed his script at Robert Redford's prestigious Sundance Institute in 1992. He decided to shoot After Image in Rochester at the urging of his former RIT classmate Chris Nakis, one of the film's producers. Nakis, in fact, fought long and hard to find financing over a three-year period. He even became a fixture on city streets and at hockey games, handing out fliers, soliciting investors.

"Chris is the true unsung hero of this film," Manganelli said. "His commitment is unbelievable. This movie wouldn't get made without that tenacity." That it is being made is a quirk of Hollywood luck. "We had had a false start a few years ago, but we didn't have a lead actor that would attract any investors," Manganelli said.

"My agent at William Morris said what do you think of John Mellencamp for this role? He told me to check out Falling from Grace (Mellencamp's previous film), which I did. I told him there's potential there." After a meeting, Manganelli came away impressed with the singer-actor's candor and presence. "He honestly impressed me. I thought, if he can be half as honest in front of the camera as he was in the meeting, we've got our man." The ultimate deal-maker was Mellencamp's agent, Arnold Rifkin, who found Hollywood investors for the project. Besides Mellencamp, his clients include Whoopi Goldberg, Bruce Willis and Danny Glover. Manganelli said Mellencamp "has a remarkable work ethic, and he's an artist through and through. "And he's got the charisma."

Mellencamp delivered the commencement address Saturday at Indiana University, near his Seymour, Ind., home and came to Rochester Monday to begin rehearsals. A veteran rock star who was originally billed as John Cougar, Mellencamp has sold about 25 million records in the United States alone and has 36 gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards. His hits have included "Jack and Diane," "Pink Houses," "Small Town" and "Cherry Bomb." In 1992, Mellencamp collaborated with writer Larry McMurtry and directed his first film, Falling from Grace. He also played the lead role.

Though the film was poorly publicized and distributed, it earned four stars from critic Roger Ebert and similarly strong reviews from Rolling Stone, Variety and The Village Voice. "Mellencamp turns out to have a real filmmaking gift," Ebert wrote.

And now Mellencamp is in front of the cameras again, acting out Manganelli's story in our back yard. And you might even get to watch.

Copyright May 9, 2000 The Rochester NY Democrat and Chronicle.


(April 15, 2000) -- Filmmakers are finally ready to yell "Action!" on a Hollywood thriller long planned for Rochester. Singer-actor John Mellencamp and Oscar winner Louise Fletcher -- Nurse Ratched of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -- will be among the stars working here when production starts May 10.

The film, tentatively titled After Image, is about a crime-scene photographer -- Mellencamp -- who develops a psychic connection with a serial killer. It was announced two years ago but stalled when financing collapsed.

"But we've finally secured studio financing," said producer John Cocca, a Rochester firefighter and occasional actor and filmmaker. Cocca, who started the White Tale Images production company with three friends from the Rochester Institute of Technology, was reluctant to provide further details but said the film is budgeted "under $2 million."

June Foster, director of the Rochester Finger Lakes Film & Video Office, confirmed the film's start-up. The project will be the largest independent film done in Rochester, said Jerry Stoeffhaas, former director of the Film & Video Office. The film will be shot over six weeks, entirely in greater Rochester, using all real locations and interiors.

Another co-star of "gigantic proportion" will be announced later, said Cocca. He, producing partner Chris Nakis -- owner-operator of Nakis Auto Care -- writer-director Bob Manganelli and cinematographer Kurt Brabbee attended RIT.

Copyright April 15, 2000 The Rochester NY Democrat and Chronicle.

Cat Caper Keeps Mellencamp Crew Scrambling

(May 27, 2000) -- An unpaid extra has mysteriously disappeared from the set of After Image, the psychological murder thriller being shot in downtown Rochester.

The cat, which apparently took advantage of an escape claws in its contract, had been recruited for a scene filmed Thursday. But it eluded the crew twice, the second time perhaps for good.

The cat, a calico-tabby mix, was first found wandering the set at Brighton and Rowley streets. The stray was added to a group of local felines, hired specifically for the nonspeaking roles in the film starring John Mellencamp and Louise Fletcher.

In the scene, an actor playing Mellencamp's slightly deranged brother talks to the cats and cleans up their poop. By all reports, the animals' performances were superb.

The cat, age unknown, then escaped and was found later in the day, meowing outside the front door in the rain at Kirkhaven, a long-term nursing-care facility nearby. Employees brought it inside, wrapped it in a blanket, fed it and littered the neighborhood with cat-found posters. Members of the film crew spotted the posters and whiskered away the cat Thursday evening.

The cat, name unknown, was described as "very friendly, a little on the chubby side," by Kirkhaven publicist Cilla Drinkwater.

The cat, believed to be no relation to any of the Broadway Cats, escaped again sometime yesterday.

While Mellencamp -- formerly known as John Cougar -- was involved in the cat scene, witnesses said he did not touch the cats and was not questioned about the disappearance.

Copyright May 27, 2000 The Rochester NY Democrat and Chronicle.

John Mellencamp Begins Shooting New Film

May 15 - Singer-turned-actor John Mellencamp is bringing his down-to-earth persona back to the silver screen. This week, the 48-year-old singer -- known for such hits as "Jack & Diane," "Hurts So Good" and "Small Town" -- is shooting his new movie in Rochester, N.Y. This isn't his first foray into film. In 1992, Mellencamp collaborated with writer Larry McMurtry and directed his first film, Falling from Grace. He also played the lead role. Though the film was poorly publicized and distributed, it earned four stars from critic Roger Ebert and similarly strong reviews from Rolling Stone, Variety and The Village Voice.

Now Mellencamp is appearing opposite actress Terrylene (Legalese, Natural Born Killers) in the low-budget psychological thriller After Image, written and directed by Bob Manganelli, a 1983 graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Manganelli started work on the project, originally titled Listen Carefully, in 1992 as part of his master's work at UCLA's School of Film. It was later workshopped at the Sundance Film Festival under the title Seeing In The Dark.

Mellencamp plays a disillusioned crime scene photographer who has returned to Rochester to live with his aunt, played by Oscar-winning actress Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest). He meets and falls in love with a clairvoyant (Terrylene) whose psychic powers soon entangle them with an ominous killer, played by Michael Zelniker.

The film is being developed by a homegrown creative staff that includes a local firefighter, a tow-truck driver, and graduates from RIT.

Main Street Goes Mainstream Virtually all of the $1.4 million movie will be filmed in Rochester, making this the first potentially mainstream movie ever filmed in the upstate New York city. "There's a real development, in Rochester, of people coming back here to build their own projects," says June Foster of the Rochester Finger Lakes Film Office, who acts a liaison between the community and the production team. "Local residents are very excited," she said. "People from all over have been faxing in their resumes..they're showing up and trying out."

The residents of Rochester have good reason to be so interested in the film's success. They have been part of what Chris Nakis, a local mechanic and tow-truck driver who is one of the film's producers, calls an "up and down ride" since 1996, when the project was first announced.

Rumors circulated about the movie's status throughout the community and on the Internet, but with insecure funding, many feared the production might never come to fruition.

Excitement Growing

But this week the film finally starts rolling on the project, which is still very connected to the community. Many of the actors, extras and location crew members are ordinary residents looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

"Right now we have a small budget and no security [services]," says Nakis. "So I have to stay [on the set] overnight and guard the trucks and I'm hoping to find other volunteers." Nakis said he's hoping to build upon the community's excitement to keep the project going smoothly.

After Image could pave the way for future productions in Rochester, putting the city best known as the home of Eastman Kodak on the ever-growing list of Hollywood alternatives.

The independent film seems a natural fit for Mellencamp, who is something of rebel against entertainment industry norms. When he first broke into the music biz, he was billed as John Cougar, but Mellencamp soon shed that top 40-friendly handle in favor of his real name. Now Mellencamp has sold about 25 million records in the United States alone and has 36 gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards.

And instead of Hollywood or Beverly Hills, Mellencamp still lives in his home state, Indiana. Recently, at Indiana University's commencement, he advised graduating students to take time to find themselves. "If someone were to ask me casually about life, I would simply say, 'Play it like you feel it, baby, and live it up, kid. You'll be all right,'" he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2000 Mr. Showbiz.