Dozens of residents of the Hamlin Park Community and Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown were thanked by the head of the Paramount Pictures “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2” Buffalo production unit “for the incredible experience” and openness that they have gotten as they prepare for film work on a key part of the Kensington Expressway.
During early evening meetings Thursday in the Buffalo Museum of Science auditorium, Wendy Williams also thanked the Buffalo Police and the Peacekeepers organization, which spent much of Wednesday handing out about 2,000 flyers to residents near the expressway detailing the plans for two weeks of nighttime filming that will begin May 4.
Rafael Lima, location manager for the movie, joined Williams in telling the audience how “really excited” the film production crew is to be working in Buffalo.
Stephanie Geter, president of the Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association and the Restore Our Community Coalition, suggested that information about the film schedule should be posted on the City of Buffalo website and expressed her concern about residents of Humboldt Parkway and adjacent side streets having full access to their homes. Williams assured her and the audience that area residents “will always have access to their homes.”
“If we do hold you up, it won’t be for long,” Williams added, stressing that the safety of area residents was one of the concerns her film crew had in working with Buffalo Police, the Mayor’s Office, the state Department of Transportation and the Buffalo Public Works Department.
Williams told the audience that at least two additional flyers will be distributed before filming begins detailing the schedule for the one or two “explosions” that will be set off in the canyon of the expressway on one night before filming ends early May 17.
Williams and Lima also said residents will be alerted to the times when helicopters will be flying low over the expressway to film sequences of a dramatic car chase. A 2.5-mile stretch of the expressway will be closed to traffic from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily from May 4 through May 17.
Deputy Police Commissioner Kimberly L. Beaty told the audience that uniformed Buffalo police officers “will be very present in the neighborhood” all through the shooting schedule.
They will make sure that onlookers don’t harass residents when they come to the area to try to see some of the filming. They also will ensure the safety of everyone, especially when helicopter film crews fly very low to get overhead shots of the expressway action.
Police Lt. Jeffrey Rinaldo, head of the department’s Special Projects Unit, said the Police Department’s new Facebook page and its “Next Door” site will pass on information about the film work.
Williams said her crew is working with the Mayor’s Office to get the names of local vendors of all types that the crew will need, from catering to auto industry services to office supplies.
She also asked the audience to pass on the names of any vendors they believe could be of service to the film unit.
In response to a question from one young man about whether any “extras” would be hired locally for film work, Williams said none was needed, but she will hire “production assistants” locally to aid in dealing with the day-to-day service needs of her film crew.