The screaming of car brakes and impatient drivers honking did not distract Dickersin. He drily explained, “I’m actually trying to catch a taxi. You would think there would be many in New York,” adding, “New York is great, but loud.”
Very loud, especially compared to our peaceful town of Amherst, where he attended college. The move from quiet to chaos, however, was one Dickersin was willing to make in order to pursue his career as a film producer.
“I came out of Amherst as an English major,” he explained. “I took a few film study courses, but it was at Hampshire College where I actually did film work. Hampshire is the only school in the Five-College area where I could set my hands on the equipment.”
After college, Dickersin soon found his way onto the sets of two independent films, “Eight Men Out” and “True Love.” He continued to work with independent films for quite a while before deciding to attend New York University to receive his Masters in film directing.
After graduation, Dickersin returned to the field of film production. “I began working as a production supervisor and location manager for films such as ‘Ghost Dog’ and ‘Double Whammy,'” he said. “My first film was ‘A Reason to Believe,’ which had a small release to about eleven cities. Now it is on video and HBO.”
As production supervisor, Dickersin worked with the movies’ crews, “making sure the film company has everything they need: all the right equipment, lighting and special effects. Everything must be covered.”
The job is demanding, but Dickersin admitted he wouldn’t want it any other way. “I love doing it, being around the filming, going from site to site with each crew,” he said. “I’m used to filming in New York now, but I’ve been all over.”
His latest stop was Northampton, where Dickersin began working last month for a film entitled “The Energy Specialist.”
Northampton has been the setting of choice for many producers, pictured in recent Hollywood films such as “The Cider House Rules,” “Malice” and “In Dreams.” Dickersin claimed, however, that “The Energy Specialist” uses Northampton differently.
“Northampton is not just a backdrop like it was in the bigger films,” he explained. “This is a story that takes place in Northampton. In fact, it would not be able to happen anywhere else.”
Dickersin is the producer/director for the film. He is collaborating with his friend and fellow Five-College graduate Eric Page, who attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
“Page is the screenwriter. We were roommates my junior year at Amherst when I lived off-campus,” Dickersin said. “The script is about his experiences in Northampton, fictionized a bit. It should be great.”
During the filming in Northampton, Dickersin, Page and many of the actors and crew were housed in the town’s old firehouse on Masonic Street.
“It was nice being back,” Dickersin said although he has visited Northampton and the area every two to three years since graduating from Amherst. “It’s a nice town.”
Filming has ended, but there is still a lot of work left to be done on the movie. “We have to begin the editing now,” Dickersin explained. “Who knows when it will be ready to take it to festivals and which distributor might become interested. That is the question with independent films.”
This process can be lengthy, so Dickersin sometimes works on more than one movie at a time. “Independent films take a few years from start to finish. In the meantime I choose to work on bigger films,” he explained, citing “The 24 Hour Woman” and “State of Grace” as examples.
“But who knows what will happen,” he added, finally catching the attention of a taxi driver.
“Going that way?” filtered into his cell phone as he yelled to the driver. A producer’s life is hectic, especially in New York, but Dickersin’s accomplished list of films shows that he is certainly a pro at handling both the traffic and the film industry.