Locally shot thriller “The Secret of Sinchanee’ to premiere at Shea Theater on Saturday

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    Movie poster for "The Secret of Sinchanee" that was filmed primarily in Franklin County. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/STEVEN GRAYHM

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    Filming of "The Secret of Sinchanee" was conducted primarily in Franklin County. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/STEVEN GRAYHM

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    A scene from  "The Secret of Sinchanee" filmed primarily in Franklin County. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/STEVEN GRAYHM

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    Filming of "The Secret of Sinchanee" was conducted primarily in Franklin County. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/STEVEN GRAYHM

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    A scene from "The Secret of Sinchanee" that was filmed primarily in Franklin County. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/STEVEN GRAYHM

  • Steven Grayhm, who starring, wrote, directed and produced the film. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/STEVEN GRAYHM

  • Tamara Austin. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/STEVEN GRAYHM

  • Nate Boyer. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/DERRICK ZELLMAN

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    Filming of "The Secret of Sinchanee" was conducted primarily in Franklin County. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/STEVEN GRAYHM

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    Filming of "The Secret of Sinchanee" was conducted primarily in Franklin County. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/STEVEN GRAYHM

Staff Writer
Published: 10/6/2021 5:25:13 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Cast and crew of internationally acclaimed, locally shot thriller film “The Secret of Sinchanee” will forgo a Hollywood premiere in favor of holding an Official New England Red Carpet Premiere Event and Cast Q&A at the Shea Theater on Saturday.

Starring, written, directed, and produced by Team House Studios’ Steven Grayhm, best known for his roles in “White Chicks” and Netflix’s “Between,”  the film is about a tow truck driver who returns to his childhood home in Franklin County after the untimely death of his father to discover the house (and the sacred land it was built on) haunted.

Grayhm said inspiration behind the premise and setting of the film stemmed from his wife, who is from Erving, as well as the history of the area, which is steeped in Native American culture and heritage. For him, bringing the project full circle with a Franklin County premiere event is a fitting wrap-up to what he calls “truly a family affair.”

“As an emerging filmmaker, I always wanted to shoot a movie here,” Grayhm said.

Grayhm said he met his wife in Greenfield before eventually getting married in the region. In the time since, he developed a deep admiration for the area and connections to it through his wife’s family.

In addition to his wife’s locality, Grayhm said his father-in-law owns and operates Rose Ledge Towing in Erving and his mother-in-law runs Black Burger Bar in Turners Falls, a location that actually appears in the movie. Grayhm said he went as far as recruiting local non-actors for roles in the film, including his own niece, nephew, father-in-law, and Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan, to make the film feel authentic.

“I feel like we really captured it...” Grayhm said of the region’s essence. “This is undeniably a Western Massachusetts film.”

Prior to the film’s creation, Grayhm said he also researched “local atrocities” regarding the genocide of indigenous peoples that stain the histories of Turners Falls and Deerfield, as well as his own heritage, which includes Canadian First Nation blood. For this reason, he found it important that he not only include indigenous representation in the movie, but also donate a to-be-determined percentage of the premiere’s earnings to the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness.

“There are indigenous scenes in the movie, so it was really important for us to get their blessing,” Grayhm said.

In the film, Grayhm pays tribute to indigenous peoples by reversing traditional Hollywood tropes where Native Americans are portrayed as cultish heathens.

“In my film, the settlers are the devil worshippers and the indigenous people … are the protagonists, the heroes of the story.”

Although the film has local ties, its prestige is undeniable. Grayhm is joined by a star-studded cast of Team House Studios co-founder, co-star, ex-NFL player, and Green Beret Nate Boyer (“Mayans M.C.”), Tamara Austin (“The Walking Dead”), Jacob Schick (“American Sniper,” “A Star Is Born”), Rudy Reyes (“Generation Kill”), and breakout Netflix child star Laila Lockhart Kraner (“Gabby’s Dollhouse”).

Grayhm said that getting cast and crew members on board to film in such a location was no great challenge, observing that “there was a lot of allure to shoot there.” The film has also already been internationally recognized, having won Best Writer for Grayhm and Best Film Score at the 2021 Santorini Film Festival in Greece, among other accolades. It will also make its United Kingdom premiere at the 2021 Raindance Film Festival.

For now, though, Grayhm, who lives in Hollywood, said there’s nothing he’d rather do for a premiere than “bring it back to the county.”

“I feel like there’s something to be said about opening your doors to the general public to share this experience with you for something that was shot right in your backyard,” Grayhm said. “I want everyone to have a sense of pride.”

Tickets for the event, which takes place 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., are available for $20 at SheaTheater.org. Admission includes the film screening, complimentary popcorn, a showing of film props in the lobby, a poster signing, and a Q&A with the full movie cast.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.




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