Kaufman Astoria Studios to host special free street fair

By Bill Parry

The main gate at Kaufman Astoria Studios will swing open to the public for a free, daylong street fair offering a rare inside look at film and TV production.

“New York on Location” will feature stunts, special effects, makeup demos and public access to 20 film trailers and trucks Sunday, Sept. 21, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Museum of the Moving Image, a partner in the event, will offer exhibitions about filmmaking next door.

“People will have a greater understanding and appreciation of the film industry here in New York,” Moving Image Executive Director Carl Goodman said. “Queens is the absolute center of film and TV production on the East Coast, and this is a way for the industry to give back to the community. We’re seduced by the glamour, but we want to educate people about all the hard work that goes into production by many people who live in our neighborhoods.”

Among the highlights included in the On Location street fair are award-winning stunt performers demonstrating high falls, street fighting and stunt driving. Weather effects include rain, snow and wind created by special effects craftspeople as well as a look inside a camera car, a rigged vehicle that supports the filming of scenes set in autos.

“It’s a unique event and it’s also going to be a lot of fun,” Goodman said. “People in western Queens have grown accustomed to seeing movie trailers in their neighborhood and the only reaction is to the parking spaces that are being used up. New York on Location will give residents a chance to interact with the people behind the scenes, many of whom live in our neighborhoods.”

Built in 1920, Kaufman Astoria Studios was the original home of Paramount Pictures, and more than 100 silent films were made on its sound stages.

Today, top Hollywood film, television and digital on-demand series are made at the studio, including “Orange Is the New Black,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “Sesame Street,” which has filmed at the studio since 1992.

Recent film productions include “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Men in Black 3” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

“Thousands of New Yorkers are employed on TV and film location productions throughout the city every year,” KAS President Hal Rosenbluth said. “But most people don’t have a chance to see the nuts-and-bolts work that create the magic we enjoy on screen. Kaufman Astoria Studios is very proud to open the backlot and be a partner in this one-of-a-kind event.”

But this is not the first time the two institutions have worked together on a street fair like this.

“We did it back in 2007 but on a much smaller scale,” Goodman said. “That was back before the recession, before the studio had its backlot and before the renovations at the Museum of the Moving Image. Now the film industry in western Queens and both our institutions have all hit their stride at the same time.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr‌[email protected]‌local.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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