TSL And Its Founders Inspire A Two-Part Film, “A Bread Factory”
Claudia Bruce and Linda Mussmann
Time and Space Limited in Hudson, N.Y. is a lighthouse of artistic emotion. A beacon of raw creative energy, the 40-year-old community arts institution and its founding matriarchs Claudia Bruce and Linda Mussmann have been calling to safe harbor countless talented artists for decades. Now one, filmmaker Patrick Wang, has used TSL, Mussmann, Bruce and the city of Hudson as the inspiration for a two-part movie called “A Bread Factory.”
The comedies will have their world premiere at TSL on Monday, Sept. 3 at 1 p.m., before heading to New York and LA. TSL will also show numerous screenings of both parts through September.
The movies star Tyne Daly as Mussmann-esque Dorothea and local actress Elisabeth Henry plays the Bruce-ian Greta. The films have a significantly sized cast as, like TSL, the local community is a big part of the production. The films also star Janeane Garofalo and James Marsters. Wang said 30 percent of the films were shot at TSL and all other locations were around Hudson (called Checkford in the film).
In the first of the two movies, the fictional arts center fights for survival when a celebrity couple — performance artists from China — build an enormous complex down the street, causing big changes in the small town that threaten the center’s very existence.
In the second film the center is in rehearsals of the ancient Greek play "Hecuba."
But everything is tossed into chaos again for Dorothea and Greta as outside the theater the small town is being invaded by bizarre tourists and mysterious tech start-up workers.
“The ideas in the movie are easy to synopsize but it’s really about the people and their relationships to one another,” said Wang. “Someone once said about my movies that there are no villains. I try to understand where everyone is coming from.”
Wang said everything about the way Mussmann and Bruce run TSL reminded him of the woman who taught him performing arts as a child and the magical places that foster the arts in small communities around the world.
“My relationship with TSL started in 2012. Linda invited me up to talk about my first film after a screening,” said Wang. “I had never been to Hudson before but I stepped into TSL and felt like I knew it right away. We became friends. I visited a few times and a few years later the idea came to me. I’d been thinking a lot about art and commerce.”
The way art is funded on a micro-scale is central to both films. In the first, a direct rival for funding resources presents itself and in the second, the community around the art center changes so much the main characters have to reassess what it means to be a community space no longer valued by the community.
“A Bread Factory,” parts one and two, might look like TSL the movie but Wang says it’s important for people to remember (especially Hudsonians) that the main characters are based on Bruce and Mussmann but are fully fictionalized, as is the Hudson-y town of Checkford.
“The character of Dorothea, her love does not express itself in an easy way for everyone to understand. Dorothea takes care of a lot of people and some end up being her enemies but there’s still love there.”
Wang said it was wonderful snagging “America’s” Tyne Daly for the Dorothea role and getting local actress Elizabeth Henry to play Greta was great luck.
Though it may not be a biopic, one wonders how Hudson residents (well known for not blunting their options) will respond to a satirical look at the familiar class dynamics mirrored in the film (albeit in a funhouse mirror). Wang says he’s not worried about offending anyone who catches a whiff of themselves in the film.
“Part of it is I love everyone in the film, and while Hudson is the seed, the film originates from the story,” said Wang. “It’s both very unique and speaks to the human experience.”
While Sept. 3 will be the public premiere of “A Bread Factory,” those involved in the production, including Bruce and Mussmann, have already gotten a sneak peek.
“It’s great but there’s no way for me to be objective about it,” said Bruce. “His style is to take portraits and scatter them. It’s his interpretation. Inspired by us but not us.”
Hosting a film crew for weeks was hectic but Bruce said everyone enjoyed the ride.
“It was a 3-4-5-ring circus but it was unbelievably well managed. They shot here (at TSL), at our house, at our friends' houses. It energized us and the community," she said. “Patrick is a very special person. He’s young and his work is so insightful and creative. It’s a tremendous honor and compliment to be included in his body of work.”
"A Bread Factory" Premiere at TSL
Monday, Sept. 3 at 1 p.m.
Time and Space Limited
434 Columbia St., Hudson, NY
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