Film Feasts on Area's Ambiance

M ike Camoin  en visions making a movie that brings Albany the same kind of fame Mystic, Conn., enjoyed after the release of Mystic Pizza starring Julia Roberts.

"It's a two-hour commercial (for Mystic) that aired around the world for free," Camoin said. "That's pretty hard to do."

That's why Camoin is taking a patient approach to having his movie, "Grazing Miss Albany," produced. He doesn't want to rush things and be stuck with a less-than-stellar project, because he knows he might not get another chance. Before the recession hit, Camoin said, he had attracted the attention of a "major distributor" as well as a talent agency on the West Coast that recommended some "A-list actors."

"Then the market crashed, and I had to go back to the drawing board," Camoin said.

So Camoin keeps his eyes and ears open for potential investors and partners in the film while keeping busy with other projects at Videos For Change Productions, a company Camoin launched at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Incubator Center in 2002. The business moved to downtown Albany in 2006 and has made a documentary series on the Adirondacks called "Inside the Blue Line." Camoin is also excited about a documentary called "An American Life: The Journey from Violence to Hope," which tells the story of Schenectady's David Kaczynski, who identified his brother, Ted, as the Unabomber.

But "Grazing Miss Albany" is clearly Camoin's passion.

Camoin wrote the script, which he calls "a family feud over faith and food."

It centers on two estranged brothers, Patrick and Francis. Patrick owns a family diner, while Francis is a priest suffering a crisis of faith. Francis shows up at the diner one day, but instead of mending fences with his brother, he delivers the news that their mother willed the diner to his church.

The movie is a family picture, Camoin said, and he's been told that there's something in it for everyone.

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