“I was that kid that said to the others in elementary school, ‘If you’re mean to me, I won’t put you in my movie.’” Director Sam Powell, a a UMASS Amherst graduate and independent filmmaker, is still trying to keep the perspective he had as an 8 year old–if not through his witty comebacks, then certainly by the earnestness of the effort he puts into his projects.
Powell, a native of Brookline, along with his brother Peter Neudel, were both raised in a film household. Their father was an editor for WGBH, and still works as an independent documentary filmmaker. Now all grown up, together, Powell and Neudel are working on a brand new short film inspired by the true experiences of Neudel while on a trip to France years ago.
“He was going to visit a girlfriend in France, and witnessed this rather contentious confrontation between his girlfriend and her upstairs neighbor and him, that involved a lot of moments of true terror,” said Powell. “When he came back, he told me this story, and I then spent week writing a piece using that story as springboard. A suspenseful story about life and death–so a heightened version, but again, using the real story as grounding.”
The result is a script called Good Fences, which will be turned into a 25 minute long short film. The story is a thriller–a young couple that move from a small town after being ostracized for their multiracial relationship, find out secrets about their menacing neighbor upstairs.
Good Fences was recently selected for fiscal sponsorship by the Massachusetts Filmmakers Collaborative because of its socially topical message. As a result, donations can now be made towards the project in any amount that are tax-deductible.
“We want to make a project that can really represent the Boston film community as a whole. This is an area that is waiting for storytellers to emerge. With the tax credit, and increased interest in the area, its a really unique and interesting time for film in Massachusetts, and we’re lending our best effort to the cause to make our best product we can,” said Powell.
The entire project is being sourced in Boston–from crew to locations, and will be filming for 8 days in early November, with an anticipated release date of February 2012.
“Our top tier in Boston is exceptional, I would put it up against any other community you can get your hands on,” said Powell. “We’ve heard it repeated a lot through the years: don’t sleep on Boston–its a very special place for filmmaking.”
For more information on the project, and how to get involved by being part of the cast, crew, or to make a donation, visit their website here.