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Film by WNY native to debut at Tribeca Film Festival

“Emelie” is going from Clarence and Buffalo – to Tribeca.

The movie about a baby sitter that was filmed in Buffalo months ago is headed to the major film festival that will take place in New York City next month.

The Tribeca Film Festival begins in mid-April. “Emelie” will be shown several times during the event, starting April 16, according to the festival.

The feature-length film – about a new baby sitter – has a screenplay by Western New York native Richard Raymond Harry Herbeck, the son of Dan Herbeck, a staff reporter for The Buffalo News, and Joyce Herbeck, a middle school guidance counselor in North Tonawanda.

The movie, filmed in Buffalo and its suburbs, was directed by Michael Thelin.

“It was a very compelling script,” said Tim Clark, Buffalo Niagara film commissioner. “It was well-written ... and then it was well-shot.”

“From what I understand, it looks great,” Clark said of the movie. “Western New York comes off very well in it.”

Herbeck, 31, a Kenmore East and Ithaca College graduate who now lives in California, said he was thrilled to have the movie’s debut at the film festival.

“The world premiere is going to be at the Tribeca Film Festival,” said Herbeck, who graduated from Kenmore East High School and Ithaca College. “We’re very excited about that.”

A story in The Buffalo News last fall about Herbeck’s work on the project and the movie’s filming in Buffalo showed how Herbeck traced his passion for screenwriting to his discovery at 10 of “Jurassic Park” – and the ways that movies can have a powerful effect on audiences.

Herbeck has worked on other film projects during his time in the movie business, including “The Cabin in the Woods” and “Cloverfield.”

The movie “Emelie” was shot in places around the region including downtown Buffalo and Clarence.

Clark said he believes “Emelie” will go over well in New York at the Tribeca event. And, he said, the festival slot reflects well on Western New York and some of its homegrown talent.

“Tribeca is right up there,” Clark said. “That that film got in there, for a first-time writer, to me is fascinating.”

The Tribeca Film Festival was started in 2002 by actor Robert DeNiro and others. This year’s event will conclude with a 25th anniversary celebration of the classic film “GoodFellas,” which starred DeNiro and Joe Pesci and was directed by Martin Scorsese.

“Emelie” stars Sarah Bolger, Susan Pourfar and Chris Beetem, among others.

Herbeck said the selection of “Emelie” by Tribeca is meaningful. He said he felt “heartened and validated” at the turn of events.

“I’m very proud,” Herbeck said. “It’s great for the film. It’s great for the budding careers of the filmmakers – and it’s great for Buffalo.”


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