Enthusiastic cheers punctuated a three-minute promotional video at the on Thursday night as a crowd got a first look at the vision for an independently produced local film.
The event was held to raise funds for the production of a motion picture which director Andrew Bell hopes to shoot next summer. The story focuses on Sommer, an 18-year-old surfer who sets off on a journey to find her father, Rip Brisco. Along the way, she meets several other characters including bikers Lucas, a street-smart loner, and Aaron, a veteran returned from Iraq.
“Sometimes, life is the ride. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. And that’s really what life is all about,” Bell said.
Although the film is still at an early stage of pre-production, Bell and a group of actors put together the video this summer. Shot on a small budget in southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island, this piece stars Emily King as Sommer, Vic Nye as Brisco, and Kurt Campagna as Lucas.
“It’s more like a marketing piece,” said Bell. “It was designed to invoke what this was all about.”
Nye and Campagna are friends of Bell who agreed to appear in the video. Campagna said he has done some acting before, appearing in commercials and doing occasional work with major films when they visit the casinos. Campagna said he feels the story is a welcome counterpart to other low-budget films, which he said often fall into the horror genre.
“It’s an interesting plot for a movie,” he said. “This is something different from, ‘Hey, we’re going to do a horror flick.’”
King, a non-union actress from York, Me., responded to an online post from Bell seeking an actress. The role seemed especially fitting, as she is a surfer; one day after responding to the post, she was making one of two weekend trips to the area to shoot the promo. She hopes to return for the same role in the full production.
“It was a lot of fun. We had a blast,” she said. “There were actually waves, and they’re so inconsistent on the East Coast.”
Proceeds from an admission fee at the gate will go to the film, although guests were also treated to an evening of entertainment. King’s brother kicked off a musical set featuring local bands Superbald and The Gatekeepers. Area businesses donated prizes for a raffle, while a silent auction took place for two works of art.
“I think it’s great to have a movie in New London, Connecticut,” said Ingrid Peterson, a friend of Bell's who volunteered at the event. “Hopefully it makes it big, and hopefully it does well.”
Bell has the same hope, although his plan is to start small.
“My goal is to send it to film festivals,” he said. “But if I end up striking a deal before then, it could wind up being bought by a production company.”
Tom Deedy, the film’s writer, said he has been working sporadically with Bell since Bell put together a trailer for a television series Deedy was working on. He said he has completed 35 pages of the approximately 90-page script, with the story laid out but room for the actors to expand on their roles.
Deedy said Bell’s effort to create the movie on a local level is an example of an entrepreneurial spirit.
“If you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself, and that’s what he’s doing. And I hope it works out for him,” said Deedy. “So far, so good.”