he strategy for filming Buffalo Bushido is fascinating in the way that it was crafted by writer, director, actor, and producer Peter McGennis and how it evolved with the needs of the story. McGennis wrote the script back in 2005 thinking about how he could attract top name actors to come to his hometown of Buffalo, New York.  He knew that he would need to be flexible around their schedules after learning from his first film "In" (New Orleans, 2004) how difficult it is for an independent producer to coordinate cast simultaneously. Beginning with cast, time would become McGennis' ally allowing his powerful script to not only connect with his wish list for cast but to also open the door to collaboration. Throughout the production, McGennis would constantly revise his script and discuss new ideas with his actors, including Bruce Glover and Jesse Martin, for what they thought the film required.  Creative sparks were flying but McGennis did not stop there using time to enrich the production.
 
cGennis tossed aside the traditional approach to planning a shooting schedule in a single block of time.  Aside from the difficulty of coordinating talent, he wanted to take advantage of all four seasons as the backdrop for his story.  Instead, he decided to chip away at the shooting schedule in chunks in order to build momentum and adapt to the film’s needs.  While discussing the film with veteran actor Bruce Glover, McGennis shot one day with adult star Lezley Zen as a litmus test for getting a sense of his crew’s dynamic.  It was quite the introduction and the crew had a blast.  However, the day encountered a snafu when a motel owner refused to allow the crew to film upon seeing a “Pandora’s Box” road sign being rolled into the driveway.  However, within an hour, McGennis, serving as location manager, finagled a backup motel and the day was rescued.
 
ext up would be filming with veteran actor Bruce Glover.  A huge fan of Glover, McGennis, had from the start, envisioned Glover playing the role of Javier, the creepy, affable, and omniscient presence at the hotel desk.   The dynamic between Glover and McGennis was a perfect fit.  Some great ideas sprung forth including the thought of Glover taking on the role of another main character, Soup, the homeless sage.  Fantastic realizations continued to come to McGennis during his time with Glover and their filming often included new material that was sometimes sporadically thought up during lunch.  In the edit, Glover is surreally sprinkled throughout the entire film.  He is crucial in allowing the audience to enter the state of mind of the film and to see the world through the eyes of the main character, Davis, who is played by McGennis.
 
hile Glover was essential to the state of mind of the story, McGennis needed to cast his female lead, Sadie, in order to have a film.  The role of Sadie is heavy demanding a full commitment from the actor to strip down emotionally and physically while putting her trust in McGennis’ hands as producer, actor, and director.  McGennis knew that it would be a lot to ask from an experience Hollywood actor.  When Leila Arcieri agreed to come on board, McGennis knew he had his story.  She arrived in September along with another major score for the film’s cast, John Savage, who connected with the role of Vendetti- the neurotic parole officer with a bad comb over.  McGennis filmed the scenes with Savage and Arcieri first in order to film out John Savage who was the lesser time commitment.  Having this time also allowed the trust between Arcieri and McGennis to develop before their material was tackled which comprised the majority of the film.  With Savage’s memorable performance in the can, McGennis scheduled the Davis & Sadie scenes starting with the least emotionally demanding and building up to the heaviest.  It was a strategy that paid off.  Arcieri not only melted the screen with her beauty but she tapped into the pain that McGennis had written for Sadie’s character.  Working together within a circle of built trust, Arcieri and McGennis nailed their two most difficult scenes including the coming clean scene in the depths of the dank hotel room and the unforgettable, culminating scene on the busy Peace Bridge connecting the United States to Canada.
 
cGennis not only looked to Hollywood for his cast.  Teaming up with casting director, Brette Goldstein, they connected with some amazing actors living in New York City who they felt would find it a lot easier catching the one hour flight to Buffalo to take part in a film that was already in production.  Goldstein started the New York connection by bringing in Fred Weller at the end of Arcieiri’s shoot.  He was perfect for the role of the retentive doctor boyfriend, Wendyl, who is the voice of reason for Sadie.  Goldstein’s commitment to the film far exceeded normal protocol for a casting director.  She requested to come to Buffalo for the entire fall shoot that included September and the following month that she was already lining up with Jesse Martin and Lord Jamar.
 
omentum was strong now and would not succumb to adversity when Buffalo fell victim to the worst October snow storm in history. Filming with Jesse Martin had to be postponed as Buffalo was declared to be in a national state of emergency. Power was lost for a week and every tree was damaged. Still, McGennis stayed in contact with Jesse Martin and through their collaboration, McGennis expanded Martin’s role of Shawn in order to tell a deeper and more connecting story. After two weeks, filming resumed and spirits were lifted with Martin’s arrival. The extra time to prepare paid off. Martin added tremendously to the film in his expanded role. The crew really enjoyed having him on set and afterwards they celebrated what McGennis thought might be a wrap for his production. Unfortunately, adversity would strike again the next morning after Martin’s last day of filming. McGennis' truck was broken into while stopping for breakfast en route to the airport. Martin lost all of his luggage while McGennis lost his video camera documenting the entire production. While news of the theft made headlines across the country, McGennis felt like Buffalo, hometown to both he and Martin, had let them down. But Martin’s spirit would not be broken and his 
grace and positive energy soon got McGennis back on track. McGennis realized just how extraordinary a talent and a person Jesse Martin is and how inspiration comes back to those who give it.
 
y the end of 2006, Buffalo Bushido had filmed 20 days and a rough cut was put together. McGennis had come a long way filming out his main cast while facing his fair share of adversity along the way. Having the winter to determine what the film now required, McGennis went deeper into the psychological layers of the film that were rooted in the script but not yet embedded in the film. Flashback material, fantasy sequences, voice over, comic book art, and new ideas for animation began to take form including McGennis’ own creation of the cult comic book antihero Samurai D given illustration by underground comic artist Marvin Mariano. Seven additional days of filming were also lined up including 1 day in March, 1 in April, 2 in May, and 3 in June. Armed with a higher vantage point, McGennis took aim at all of things that he felt his story still required. The themes of the story became more specific and new scenes were added. Of particular interest were the numerous flashback scenes written in the story that McGennis had started to film the previous year using many young actors who appear as younger versions of his adult cast (including several real life father-son, mother-son, and mother-daughter combinations). Over the course of a year, it is remarkable to watch how they mature and physically change throughout the film in synch with the story. Having time to go into more detail, McGennis invited Hall of Fame wrestler Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka to appear in the film (previously Snuka was only referenced as a point of childhood departure). Both local and out of town crew looked forward to reuniting month after month to film over weekends to see what McGennis had in

store for them.  Some cast members even made time to come back to Buffalo to be a part of the fun, spirited vibe that McGennis is known for creating on set and after hours.
 
fter the June shoot, McGennis decided to wrap filming sensing that he had enough of his story on film to bring Buffalo Bushido to life. His organic approach to filmmaking worked again. But this time around, on his second feature film, McGennis used time masterfully to create a strategy for production that would attract an incredible cast and produce an original, multi-layered, & powerful film. An artist and an alchemist, McGennis has proven that he can deliver working on his own canvass and on his own terms. With Buffalo Bushido, McGennis takes his place as a consummate film artist working outside of Hollywood . His passionate, creative, and resourceful approach taking feature films from concept to final print is a testament to the spirit of independent filmmaking. McGennis has indeed earned his own reputation and the title that he coined for himself when he first started out as an “Organic Filmmaker."