2006 graduate of University of New Hampshire and NH resident Michael Grosse has broken out of the Hollywood East scene as the producer of a new TV series called “Bladework.” According to NewEnglandFilm.com, the show will feature both coverage of Olympic-style fencing events and a reality TV segment in which an athlete is challenged to complete one fencing lesson per episode and compete in a tournament at the end of the season. The first episode will premiere on Friday, Nov. 26, at 8 a.m.
The new show, a collaboration with NBC Universal Sports Boston and MyTV New England, is funded by the same “branded-entertainment” model that is bringing you “Boston Ruit” this March; the innovative strategy was developed by Christopher Murphy, Film and TV Development Executive for MyTV New England. It allows several local businesses to take part in this production and be featured in episodes of the show, including the Seacoast Fencing Club in Rochester, N.H., where parts of “Bladework” will be filmed.
In an interview with Warren J. Avery, Grosse — who is an Epee coach at UNH, where he himself fenced in 2005 and ’06 — discussed the sport of fencing, which is frequently overlooked by the public eye. “The U.S. team won 6 fencing medals in Beijing—tied with Italy for the most in the world. Now is the perfect time to bring the sport to the mainstream. Robin Hood, James Bond, and Captain Jack Sparrow have been entertaining audiences with swordplay for years, but ‘Bladework’ will show the real thing in all its grace and drama. Who doesn’t love watching a good sword fight?”
“Bladework” combines two of Grosse’s passions: film and fencing. A Mechanical Engineering turned English/Journalism major at UNH, Grosse decided to pursue a minor in Cinema Studies, “mostly out of spite for having spent so much time studying linearity and mechanics. I saw cinema studies as a way to re-engage the creative side of my brain,” says Grosse. The plan, according to Grosse, was to possibly get into documentary filmmaking someday. “My film studies courses at UNH set the foundation on which I would eventually build my film and TV career.”
After working briefly as a reporter in Gloucester, Mass., Grosse began working in independent TV production, and, in 2010, he approached Chris Murphy at MyTV New England with an idea to produce a show of his own. ”I cannot imagine any training that would have better prepared me for producing a weekly TV series. The same process that I had learned in journalism school — and then refined as a city reporter for the Gloucester Daily Times — applies to every shoot for ‘Bladework,’” says Grosse. “How to be concise but engaging, and how to process new information quickly, prioritize details by their importance and the reliability of their source, and translate this into a narrative…I had already conquered that learning curve with a pen, so I was able to hit the ground running with a camera fairly easily.”
Some advice from an up-and-coming Hollywood East producer who, despite his success, still describes himself as a “student of the craft:”
“Don’t wait for work. If you have the drive, create. If you don’t have the drive, consider another field. If you’re broke, pens are cheap. Library cards are free and there are hundreds of years worth of books on how to write well at your disposal. A resourceful writer is hard to find and indispensable on any project. No matter what medium you use, share stories that you are passionate about. Success has a habit of following those who pursue their passions.”
Want to be an expert on the elaborate world of Connecticut’s hot dog stands? Fortunately for you, independent filmmaker Mark Kotlinski has taken up the cause in his film A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour. Kotlinski takes a culinary expedition through floating frankfurter stands with special appearances along the way by celebrities and hot dog connoisseurs alike.
“The film takes the viewer on a mouth-watering road trip to some of Connecticut’s distinctive hot dog stands to sample their house specialties, history and local hot dog culture,” Kotlinski said in an interview for NewEnglandFilm.com.
A New Britain, Conn. native of Polish ancestry, Kotlinski grew up eating various types of sausage and franks. Thus, he felt it was important to showcase a diverse assortment of venues in his A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour. Along with presenting the menus of such restaurants as Weiners on Water in Haddam, Conn. and Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, Kotlinski’s film also describes the evolution of each individual hot dog stand. Each place has its own top secret recipe, making it unique from the rest.
Kotlinski admitted that and his videographer/co-producter, John Carluccio, encountered a few blips throughout the epicurean adventure. The crew had very little space to shoot footage inside the hot dog stands, and it was often impossible to set up lighting equipment. Only the available light was used for the inside shots, Kotlinski said.
Also, the Connecticut weather was an issue, and rain frequently forced the crew to reschedule outdoor shoots. ”The weather in Connecticut is definitely a major factor in productions. However it’s also one of the major advantages… It’s a perfect backdrop for a film.”
When asked about his favorite of all the venues he visited, Kotlinski predictably avoided making any such decision. “I actually don’t have one favorite; it depends on what I’m in the mood for. Some days I need a chili dog and others I need a hot relish fix. That’s what I like about Connecticut hot dog stands: there’s not one specific style, so they’re all pretty unique.”
Preview the lip-smacking journey in the following trailer. Other clips from the film, as well as information on how to purchase your own copy can be found here!
New England Film.com is one of the most popular film sites viewed by professionals in the film and television industry. According to Google Analytics, the site receives over 65,000 visitors and over 150,000 page views monthly. The dot com is home to over 5,000 industry related jobs, events and classifieds — and it’s free! This year, New England Film has announced that their Second Annual Online New England Film Festival is collaborating with the Rhode Island Film Festival and the New Hampshire Film Festival by hand picking the 2010 roster for this year’s online festival.
Last year, New England Film did have an open call for entries but decided to spice it up this year and go find the best short films out there to feature. The festival will showcase short films online from New England this coming September. The 2010 Online Film Festival is also being sponsored by several local industry-related businesses: Rule; Talamas; and Modulus Studios. So get those submissions into one of the many festivals happening right now in New England because your short film might just be hand picked for the 45 day online festival.
It can often be challenging to find a really useful collection of film-related articles, how-tos, and interviews on the web. Even harder is finding a large quantity of film listings, events, and jobs in the New England area – especially for free. Anyone who has spent time on search engines knows that this information is often disjointed and spread around different websites.
Luckily for local filmmakers, there is a terrific resource in NewEnglandFilm.com. Founded in 1997 by Michele Meek, NewEnglandFilm.com is a site that offers diverse services and information, including everything from web hosting and design – which is customized for the individual – to targeted advertising and tracking. According to Google Analytics, the site currently receives over 200,000 page views and 72,000 visits monthly.
Meek saw an opportunity to create a collective resource for the independent film society within New England, and that’s exactly what she did – she established a website that allows the public to log in and become a part of a supportive community that discusses the ins and outs of filmmaking. Meek herself has a background working in both the Hollywood and independent film industry as a screenwriter, story analyst, director, and producer.
“Our original mission when we started over ten years ago,” says Meek, “remains true today. We hope to unify the film community and we see New England as an opportunity for states to collaborate through not only their film offices, but their film organizations and festivals. It’s true that everyone can be possessive of their slice of the pie, but my philosophy is ‘Together, let’s make that pie bigger!’”
On October 15th, 2009, NewEnglandFilm.com hosted and celebrated the award winners of their Online New England Film Festival at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, MA. The actual festival was not only the first of its kind for the site, but also for all of New England. The categories included animation, drama, documentary, and comedy. All of the work screened was in the often ignored form of the short film. Some of the winners are still available for viewing online, such as A Work in Progress, The Other Way Out, and White Elephants. A second online film festival is underway for 2010.
As one of the most helpful and free resources for filmmakers in New England, it’s easy to see why it gets so many visits and has over 22,000 voluntary subscribers to its email newsletter. The consolidation of so much useful information ensures that NewEnglandFilm.com is a premium stop for anyone who is interested in the film industry within the New England area.
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.
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