With a budget of only $200,000, Putt Putt Syndrome was the first New England film to shoot with high definition technology using the Sony F35 that is said to be worth $500,000. The film recently completed 18 shooting days of in Winthrop, Maine.
Putt Putt Syndrome is a dark comedy about a happily married man, Johnny, who starts to believe his bitter friends hypothesis on why marriages fail. Johnny decides to see if his buddy’s theory has any truth to it only to find out he’s got all the symptoms of, “Putt Putt Syndrome”. Johnny’s perfect life slowly unravels as he tries to put his life back together and save his marriage. The film was only a screenplay six months ago when local Winthrop, ME writer/director Allen Cognata contacted independent producers Rene Veilleux who is also from New England and Donald Roman Lopez of Verite Films through an ad they placed on New England Film.
“I was surprised when Allen got in contact with us,” said Veilleux, a Boston University grad who spoke through a speaker phone joined with Lopez. “We started emailing back and forth. Allen sent us over the screenplay and we fell in love with it.” Veilleux and Lopez talked about Verite films mission of truthful film making. They said it’s important to have honest stories that have an impact on the audience. After reading Cognata’s screenplay, Verite films knew they wanted to be a part of it. Cognata, Veilleux and Lopez joined together to give the green light only six months later.
Veilleux and Lopez just returned to their home in LA a day before we spoke, opting to drive cross country rather then take a four hour flight to LAX. It was obvious through the cell phone connection that the two were still feeling the adrenaline of completing the project. A film they refer to as “Independent Film Boot Camp,” Putt Putt Syndrome started filming in early June. Unfortunately they picked one of the worst months in New England to film. “It rained a lot in the month of June and that made it difficult but we worked through it,” said Veilleux. “Allen was well prepared for each shoot with shotlifts and storyboard. He knew exactly what he wanted in his film”.
Veilleux and Lopez bragged about how amazing the community of Winthrop, Maine was to their cast and crew. They were over joyed with the friendliness that surrounded them. The community opened their homes and businesses for the cast and crew. They talked about how everyone involved was so passionate about the project. Many of these people weren’t even getting paid.
“We all had to where many hats,” said Veilleux and Lopez commenting on how many different roles each person had play to get this film off the ground and finished. Veilleux and Lopez talked about how lucky they were to have a phenomenal casting director, Rosemary Welden, who played a critical role in casting. Some of the actors include Jason London who is best remembered as a young stoner in Dazed and Confused; David Chokachi who stared along side Pamela Anderson in “Baywatch” and Thea Gill who stared in the Showtime hit “Queer as Folk”. All the actors agreed to getting $100 a day under the SAG ultra low budget contract.
London was quoted by the Sun Journal saying he couldn’t put the script down and that no one was doing it for the money. Veilleux and Lopez said the next plan is to submit copies to Film Festivals this September and to start promoting it. Both are very proud of this film and hope it will be featured in the spring of 2010.