Spike Lee's New Movie Transformed Ossining Into 1970s Colorado

Filming for BlacKkKlansman meant giving this rivertown a retro facelift.


When filmmaker Spike Lee shot his upcoming movie BlacKkKlansman late last year, some Westchester businesses got a retro facelift. Though the film was shot in multiple Westchester towns, including Briarcliff Manor and Mount Vernon, Ossining seemed to get the lion’s share of the limelight, with scenes depicting Main Street and the surrounding neighborhoods, among other locations.

“This is the biggest, longest-term [film] project we’ve had,” says Village of Ossining mayor Victoria Gearity. “We have had some hiccups, but anytime a big production comes to the community, communication is something we look to improve.”

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Gearity went on to say that Ossining will ultimately reap a portion of the more than $10 million spent on production. “We have a lovely woman in the village manager’s office who meets with the production company, which pays a fee for each day it shoots here,” in addition to smaller permit fees.

The biggest boon, however, was to local businesses, many of which enjoyed sharp revenue bumps during filming. “The coffee shop on Main Street actually had to hire more staff,” says Gearity, adding that film productions can be a really positive thing for the community. “It’s all about communication.”

Produced by Monkeypaw Productions and Blumhouse Productions, BlacKkKlansman is about an African-American detective who becomes a chapter head of the KKK after pretending to be white. The film is scheduled for a 2018 release and stars John David Washington, son of Mount Vernon’s own Denzel Washington, alongside Adam Driver and Topher Grace.

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