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‘These are my roots’: What keeps two up-and-coming filmmakers in Syracuse?

Filmmaker James Domroe sets up a scene outside in downtown Syracuse.

Filmmaker James Domroe sets up a scene outside in downtown Syracuse. John C. Liau

Domroe made “How to Be Happy,” a short film, after college, and working on a few TV shows and shooting a pilot for HBO. The dark piece is still winning him awards, and continues to earn the Syracusan notoriety in the industry. While churning out music videos, he has begun shooting a full-length feature on the streets of Syracuse.

The fast-paced action thriller is similar to “Snatch,” according to Domroe. How does a one-man company juggle all of the responsibilities normally taken on by a crew of hundreds? Hard work, help from friends and basically free reign in the city, (for which Domroe is very grateful).

“I was able to shut down an entire street and shoot a gun fight in the middle of the day for a very reasonable price,” laughed Domroe. “There aren’t many places in the world where you can do that. I’ve been working with the Film Commission out of the Hotel Syracuse, and everyone is incredibly receptive to what I’m doing. That makes it much easier, of course, but it also makes me appreciate the opportunities that I have here.”

Domroe, with the help of Syracuse First and other agencies, is working to make the city an attractive destination for filmmakers, similar to what Vancouver has become during the last two decades. The push is in its infancy stages, but Domroe is one who dreams big.

“Architecturally, Syracuse is a beautiful place,” he said. “I could have started elsewhere, but there are so many visually great aspects here. It would be amazing if I never had to leave, and no matter where I do end up, these are my roots.”

Quinn and his mates would also like to stay in Syracuse. He knows that branching out may be a necessity someday, but, for now, he’s happy here.

“We’re not leaving anytime soon; we love it,” said Quinn. “No matter what happens, we’ll always have an office here. We were raised here, have had success here and are devoted to giving back here.

“Syracuse has allowed us to grow. Now it’s our turn to continue giving back.”

Brian Smith is a contributing writer for The Eagle. Reach him at briansmith38@hotmail.com.

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