Film in the Berkshires
By Diane Pearlman, executive director of the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative
Originally appeared in Berkshire Magazine.
Film as an art form and a commercial endeavor has flourished under the radar in the Berkshires for nearly 40 years. More than likely, you’ve seen an award-winning independent film or an emotionally moving video at a local fundraiser without realizing it was made right here by members of a thriving community of filmmakers—directors, cinematographers, actors, screenwriters, and production professionals, all of whom call the Berkshires home.
This community began when visual effects wizard Douglas Trumbull moved here from Los Angeles in the 1980s. Hordes of Hollywood FX experts followed, lured by the prospect of leading a lucrative, creative life in a beautiful, tranquil setting. I was among them and cofounded Mass.Illusion, the company behind groundbreaking, award-winning visual effects for films like Die Hard with a Vengeance, What Dreams May Come, and The Matrix. I witnessed the film industry’s impact on the local economy, including home rentals, food service, and large purchases at hardware stores and lumber yards. Our crews frequented theaters, restaurants, and stores.
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