Location in Northeast US, Ardennes-Forest-Like + Snow

Hello, student filmmaker here. Looking to shoot my MFA thesis. I’m based in NJ.

It’s a period piece; WWII. December 1944. It should look like it’s taking place in the Ardennes forest, where the Battle of the Bulge was. So a snowy forest.

Now I’ve got a bunch of complicated parameters in terms of finding the ideal location…

1.) It’s gotta have the snow. But I’m trying to graduate by December, so I need a place that can reliably provide snow by late November.

2.) The forest should preferably look like the Ardennes. There’s a specific look to the trees, they’re all pines, very tall, narrow but thick (if that makes sense - like not branch-thin, but not bulbous-huge). They’re spaced fairly but they still leave the area quite dark.

3.) Within something like a 3-4 hour range of NYC. I’m not far from NYC and I’m willing to travel further North for snow but most of my crew is further south, and they’ll travel - but for no pay, probably not too far. I realize this, combined with the element of snow in November, is probably damn near impossible. Probably the best bet for increasing chances of cold temperature is going up mountains - I’m still trying to figure out if any upstate NY mountains look anything like the Ardennes, and what the actual chances of November snow are.

Anyway, totally aware I’m probably going to have to be loose with some of these parameters, so they’re essentially ordered by priority. Snow is a must; I’ll settle for a decent-looking forest; I’ll bribe crew members to travel further. (still trying to limit to this general area though, Northeast US; definitely can’t afford plane tickets anywhere)

Also wondering if anyone has any resources for people who are knowledgeable about nature, forests, types of trees, etc. who may know a lot about what forests could potentially resemble the Ardennes? A nature photography forum? Preservation advocates maybe?

Thanks!
 
Google easily solves the basic problem.

Forests-NorthEast-US

That gives you sites like:

http://www.northeasternforests.org/content/northeastern_forests

https://www.weyerhaeuser.com/timberlands/forestry/us-northeastern/

https://www.nps.gov/im/ncrn/eastern-deciduous-forest.htm


And many, many more.


You are not going to get "reliable" snow cover before January unless you get LOTS of elevation or go north into Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Just a thought…. You may want to check out ski resorts; they have lots of info on local forestation and snowfall. Perhaps you can convince a resort to use their snow maker to cover a small area near the slopes for you.

And another thought…. Although it was bitterly cold, there wasn't much in the way of snow during the initial stages of the Battle of the Bulge. The snow started falling heavily on about the second day.
 

indietalk

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That's a LOT to ask!

You have to decide what is most important to you. The look of the trees or the snow. Let's say you go to Buffalo and it does not snow as predicted. Do you cancel the shoot? Do you need the snow? If you need the snow do you need the trees to look right? You need to figure it all out and have a plan B as well.
 
You are not going to get "reliable" snow cover before January unless you get LOTS of elevation or go north into Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Just a thought…. You may want to check out ski resorts; they have lots of info on local forestation and snowfall. Perhaps you can convince a resort to use their snow maker to cover a small area near the slopes for you.

I actually thought about that! I haven't personally been to a ski resort or have any experience with them, but I think I will contact some. Is there usually some fall-off outside of the main slope area that their snow hits? Large enough to cover an amount of trees that can stretch into the distance? I'm still storyboarding to figure out how much can be done in CU but there are still a couple of revealing wide shots.

That's a LOT to ask!

You have to decide what is most important to you. The look of the trees or the snow. Let's say you go to Buffalo and it does not snow as predicted. Do you cancel the shoot? Do you need the snow? If you need the snow do you need the trees to look right? You need to figure it all out and have a plan B as well.

It is, and I believe the snow is more important.

At its core, the film is more about Christmas than it is about the war - it's never actually specified as the Battle of the Bulge, I'm merely using it as a backdrop for research. A timeframe that the story *could* have happened in. (I'm sure war buffs will still find inaccuracies but at a certain point I'm going to have to prioritize story over accuracy)
 
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