SOMERS, N.Y.--For three days in July, Charles Comparetto of Somers turned his hometown into a movie set. After developing a script over the past 12 years, he was ready to start shooting scenes and decided he wanted to include his community in the action.
The movie, a supernatural thriller titled “Ghost in the Graveyard,” is based on the game of the same name. The object of the game is to find a “ghost” that is hiding somewhere in the outdoor area. One player assumes the ghost role while others look for its hiding spot. Once found, the player who finds the ghost shouts “Ghost in the Graveyard,” alerting the other players that they must return to base before the ghost can tag them. If tagged, that player then becomes the ghost.
The movie, which Comparetto wrote and is directing, involves three girls playing the game, with one tragically dying in an accident. The film’s plot revolves around the dead girl returning to visit her friends when they are older.
From Saturday, July 29, through Monday, July 31, scenes from the movie were filmed in Somers and Yorktown.
“It was important to me that we filmed this locally,” said Comparetto. “It would have been cheaper to go elsewhere, but I wanted to do it here.”
Many of the scenes were filmed at Comparetto’s home, where he and his wife have raised their five daughters for the past 20 years. Additionally, footage was taken at a cemetery in Amawalk, Somers Middle School, Anglebrook Golf Club and a house in Yorktown.
“It is amazing to see them filming in the woods [in front of our house], where my girls have run so many times,” said Comparetto’s wife, Sally.
Professional actors were hired to play the different roles in the film. However, children and teenagers from Somers and Mahopac were used as extras in the scenes. The younger children can be seen playing the game and the teenagers are used in the classroom scenes.
Comparetto also had film professionals from Somers, Lisa Maher, Juliet and Anthony Sussman, and Andrew, Beth and Rachel Mendleson, helping on the crew.
“I have been friends with Charlie and Sally for about nine or 10 years,” Maher said. “Charlie approached me last summer about ‘Ghost’ while I was working on another film, and I was thrilled at the prospect of coming on board. It’s wonderful to work so close to home. I was production manager for NBC Sports for 16 years and spent my life on planes and living out of hotel rooms. This was a welcome change. ‘Local’ usually means somewhere in New York. Last summer I was in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan and a few other sites. This commute last week was awesome in comparison.”
Maher said it was special to be able to help a friend “achieve success and fulfill his passion, his dream” by being part of the film.
Comparetto compared the production experience to a dream come true.
“Around 90 percent of the time what we were able to capture on film was very close or almost exactly as I saw it in my head,” Comparetto said. “We only had three days to do a lot of shooting, but we got a lot done.”
The footage that was shot will be used to put together a trailer for the feature. Comparetto hoped to use the trailer to raise the additional money needed to film the full feature. However, after a private investor saw the dailies from the footage taken, the film was fully funded.
“We are going to be able to have a budget so much bigger than the $600,000 we originally hoped for,” Comparetto said. “Now we will use the trailer to secure distribution. We already have a meeting set up for next week.”
With funding in place, Comparetto hopes to start filming the “Ghost in the Graveyard” in its entirety beginning in September. He estimates that it could six to eight weeks to shoot the movie.
Comparetto, who has been a Wall Street financier for the past 30 years, will be taking time off from his day job to make the movie.
“It looks like I will have to take a sabbatical, but it will great,” Comparetto said.