Article published November 3, 2014

TV pilot filmed in Harmony will debut Sunday at Strand

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Crew members set up a shot using costumed extras during two days of filming for a television pilot in June in Harmony. “Mason,” made by Pittsburgh-based Dangerwood Pictures, will premiere at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Strand Theater in Zelienople. BUTLER EAGLE FILE PHOTO

GG By Joe Genco
Eagle Staff Writer

ZELIENOPLE — The pilot of a possible TV show that shot several scenes in Harmony over the summer will be screened Sunday for the first time.
“Mason,” made by Pittsburgh-based Dangerwood Pictures, will premiere at 7:30 p.m. that day at the Strand Theater on Main Street.
The 33-minute episode was shot at locations around the region, including Harmony on June 21 and 22.
The show is set in the early days of the United States and in the first episode the protagonist foils an assassination attempt on George Washington.
Director Simon Barracchini said Zelienople was chosen for the screening since Harmony allowed the crew to film for free which was important since the project has a relatively low budget.
“We wanted to have something close to the people that so graciously got us in and let us film in their town and actually closed down some streets for us,” he said.
The historic architecture of Harmony Square can be seen in the background of several scenes of the pilot, Barracchini said.
The show’s makers took care to make the setting, the props and the costumes as close to period accurate as possible. This included recruiting historical re-enactors to be extras while wearing their own costumes, he said.
Though it is historical fiction, Barracchini said he recommends it to anyone who enjoys drama, suspense and a good story.
The future of the series is uncertain as the company has been working to make connections with production companies and television networks that could pick it up and give it a budget to film more episodes.
But since Dangerwood Pictures in based in Western Pennsylvania, not New York City or Los Angeles, it will be a challenge to attract serious attention, he said.
Despite a modest budget, the pilot was shot and edited in a professional manner and intended to be pitched for broadcast television, cable or even an online service like Netflix, Barracchini said.
“We worked with a sense of professionalism. There’s not so much a loss of quality in terms of what they’re used to seeing, but a lower budget than the Hollywood system,” he said.
The company is holding the premiere in Zelienople and another screening in Washington County. After that, it is might consider selling copies of the episode or putting it online to be viewed, he said.
Jim Hulings, Harmony Borough Council president, said working with the television crew was a positive experience.
Hulings helped with the crew and the Zelienople Police Department to close off part of the square for the filming.
“I thought it went very well. We had quite a few people in costume in Harmony. It was interesting and fun to see how a movie is shot,” he said.