There are several crime dramas out there that come with the “based on a true story” conceit. However, most such films are often blended with elements of fiction to heighten the drama. ‘Lost Girls’ is also a based-on-a-true-story film, but but it takes a different approach to tell its heart-wrenching story. Apart from being a very detailed and loyal representation of actual events, the film also comes with an emotional message that hits home for most viewers.
With ‘Lost Girls’, director Liz Garbus intends to shed some light on the true story of Mari Gilbert, whose 24-year-old daughter, Shannon Gilbert, went missing. After being ignored by law enforcers, Mari (Amy Ryan) decides to seek the truth behind her daughter’s disappearance all by herself. All of this eventually leads her to a series of murders from the so-called “Long Island” killer which very well reflects on the history of inaction and indifference of the police towards any of these murders. The events of the film have been adapted from Robert Kolker’s book of the same name.
For obvious reasons, to perfectly portray the sensitivity of this case and how it impacted the ones involved in it, the filming locations play a key role. So here’s a guide that will answer your questions about where was ‘Lost Girls’ filmed.
Lost Girls Filming Locations
The Principal photography of ‘Lost Girls’ began on November 27, 2018. As you might have guessed already, the movie intends to portray the exact events that took place during the murder and that’s the reason why it uses real-life locations of the original story. ‘Lost Girls’ has been extensively filmed in Long Island, New York which is exactly where the actual events took place. Several other renowned Hollywood films like ‘Cruel Intentions‘ and ‘American Gangster‘ have also been filmed here. But while most other movies transform the locations of the island into estates or towns, ‘Lost Girls’ features the locations just as they are.
Long Island, New York
The perpetrator of the murders is commonly referred to as the Long Island serial killer because all the bodies of his victims were found in areas on the South Shore of Long Island, New York. Over a span of 20 years, the serial killer murdered 10 to 16 people and from what is known from the original case, he left the bodies of his victims along the Ocean Parkway, which is situated close to the remote beach towns of Gilgo and Oak Beach in Suffolk County and also in the area of Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County.
Director Liza Garbus posted several pictures on her Instagram during the filming of the movie which confirms that it was being shot in the locations where the actual incident took place. The picture below is geotagged as Suffolk County, located in the Eastern part of Long Island, where some of the victims were found:
View this post on Instagram
Morning run on Eastern Long Island with a shout out of great thanks and appreciation this weekend to the incredible #LostGirls team and all the brave families who shared their stories with @bobkolker @anneecarey @kmac8649 #michaelwerwie @carriefix @lisamyerslisamyers #igormartinovic #curtissmith @marcirodgers_ @laurabrosenthal @jamiehrice @archergraynyc @amy_nauiokas @saschaspringer @rorykoslow #amyryan @thomasin.mckenzie #gabrielbyrne @lolakirke @oonalaurence @deanwintersofficial @reedb324 @miriamshorty @kevinfcorrigan @shawnpeezie #camillatoniolo @aweiss37 @annenikitin @lucinda_williams @mollyelizabethbrown @anareeder2018 @cbazdekis @cookieshane and everyone else whom I haven’t found #onhere. Thank you. ❤️❤️❤️
Here’s another from Yaphank which is apparently a hamlet and census-designated place in Long Island.
When the investigation surrounding Shannon Gilbert was first initiated, the Suffolk County Police started off with Oak Beach where she was last seen. Soon after this, during a routine training exercise, the first body of the killer’s victims was discovered by a police officer and his dog. You can read more about it here. After this discovery, the area was searched even further and three more bodies were found on the north side of the Ocean Parkway. A few months post this, another one was found near Oak Beach and Gilgo Beach and when the investigation was further expanded to the Nassau County border, human remains were found in Suffolk. The details of this have been covered here.
A few more stills from the sets of the film in Haverstraw, New York:
View this post on Instagram
One of the things people ask me, having made documentaries for so long and making a scripted feature, is “how was it working with actors?!” Perhaps I’m the luckiest director in the world because it was such a natural, fruitful and creatively rewarding experience. The women pictured here – Amy Ryan, Lola Kirke, Thomasin McKenzie, Oona Laurence, and Miriam Shor – are the best of the best. We got in deep but never stopped laughing. Love you all so. (And shoutout to the amazing @jamiehrice for loaning me her extra coat on this unexpectedly frigid October day!)
The picture below features Liz Garbus with the lead actress, Amy Ryan:
View this post on Instagram
“I’m her mother. It’s ALL on me.” Mari Gilbert’s line, and how some of us on #lostgirls are feeling today! It’s the big day and I couldn’t be more proud of the incredible cast and crew that got us here. Last night I was honored to give #amyryan the @imdb STARmeter award. It’s about time. She said, in accepting the award, “I kept telling my agent, I’m ready to go into first gear!” No joke. Im just the lucky Director who got to go on that ride with her. Photo thx to @jamiehrice 🔥
Below are a few more stills of the cast of the film at the Sundance Film Festival:
Read More: Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix