‘Disappearance at Clifton Hill’ is a crime thriller that is told in the format of true crime dramas. The story follows an investigation into the kidnapping that had taken place twenty-five years ago. When Abby was little, she witnessed a boy being attacked and taken away by a couple. Years later, her memories are triggered after she sees a photo. As she delves into the details of the case, she comes across a shocking revelation. Apart from its engaging plot, the film also holds our attention with its beautiful backdrop of a quiet and quaint town straight out of a true-crime podcast. Where is this place? Where is ‘Disappearance at Clifton Hill’ shot? Here’s the answer.
Disappearance at Clifton Hill Filming Locations
The story of ‘Disappearance at Clifton Hill’ takes place in Niagara Falls. This is where Abby witnesses the kidnapping, which she starts investigating twenty-five years later. Most of the action in the film takes place inside the city, and as we start getting wound up in the cycle of lies and deceit, the place itself emerges to be a maze that the characters need to figure a way out of. To get this sense of dread and urgency right, the crew set camp in Niagara Falls itself. It serves as the primary filming location of ‘Disappearance at Clifton Hill’, along with some neighboring cities.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Director Albert Shin, who grew up in the city, wrote the script with a specific focus on Niagara Falls. He had a very precise idea of the places where the scenes would play out, and to get the film from paper to screen without losing this distinction, he had to shoot the movie there. There was no other option for him. However, the process wasn’t as easy as he had imagined.
Due to the nature of the film, he faced trouble from the Clifton Hill business improvement association because they didn’t want the story of a child kidnapping and murder to represent the place. They believed it would have adverse effects on the repertoire of the area. Due to this, Shin couldn’t get as easy an access around the city as he had imagined.
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DGC Ontario Production Disappearance at Clifton Hill premiered at #tiff2019 in September and will open in theatres in the U.S. and Canada on Friday. We caught up with Director Albert Shin and Picture Editor Cam McLauchlin (currently editing Nightmare Alley) to discuss the Niagara Falls set neo-noir thriller. . Albert: Since the film's premiere at TIFF, Disappearance at Clifton Hill was picked up by IFC Midnight (@ifcmidnight) in the U.S. and will hit theatres Feb 28th. What's it like to have that sort of momentum over the span of 6 months? . Up to this point, all the films I'd been involved with really worked the film festival circuit, but never garnered much attention from US distributors. So to be releasing theatrically in both the U.S. and Canada on the same day and have that support from our distributors has been a new and exciting experience. Hopefully that momentum carries over to the audiences! . Albert: Most challenging part of directing Disappearance at Clifton Hill? . We shot on location all over Niagara Falls, Hamilton and Mississauga on a pretty tight schedule, so like most (all?) directors, you always wish you had just a little more time! . Cam: Most challenging part of editing Disappearance at Clifton Hill? . Initially scripted, the film was intended to be a much larger piece, in scope and tone. Given various last minute challenges, this was not the case. It was originally written with this unique spirit and tone of geography in mind, and in the end I feel we were able to craft a version of Albert's intended vision without sacrificing his original concept. We had to say goodbye to a lot of fantastic scenes and performances, but ultimately, the film was telling us what it needed. It was definitely a lesson in economy and pace, which helped develop the protagonist character more than I think Albert or I ever anticipated. That said, I have to give major shoutouts to our musical collaborators, Alex Sowinski and Leland Whitty, as well as Neil Haverty. They helped us take the film to the finish line, as well as our sound team, led by Matt Chan. 👉 Continued below….
Despite the challenges, the crew managed to film the movie on as many real-locations as possible. In fact, Shin was so adamant about the authenticity that he shot the kidnapping scene at the same place where he’d had the same experience in real-life.
To meet Walter Bell, Abby and Laure go to The Flying Saucer Restaurant. This is an actual place at 6768 Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls. The crew was also spotted filming around the Queen Street area. Some scenes have also been shot at Continental Pancake House and the Niagara Falls Public Library. The crew also used several locations in the nearby towns of Mississauga and Hamilton to make up for what they couldn’t get in Niagara Falls.
Thank you both and yes indeed – Jane of the Desert is the alternate title for the indie feature called 'Clifton Hill' filming in the falls.
— What's Filming (@WhatsFilmingON) December 10, 2018
Apart from these locations, the movie also relied on several sets to bring together the story. In one of the scenes, Abby is chased by Charlie, and she ends up inside the ‘house of horrors’. This is not a real place. It was a set built solely for the film.
#Disappearance At Clifton Hill, playing this weekend. Thanks for making us part of your film. 🎥 🍿