New Hampshire native Ben Prolux’s second film, Visionary is creating buzz in LA and beyond.
New Hampshire native Ben Proulx is a young filmmaker who is already on his way to making his third feature. His second, Visionary, has gotten the attention of many and is expected to do well on the festival circuit. We recently interviewed Proulx by phone while he was in Los Angeles going over sound for the film with his composer and Berklee grad, Ayal Vishnitzer.
Described by Proulx as a “psychological movie…a puzzle of dealing with pressures,” Visionary centers on an autistic girl who is forced through acting auditions by her mother. When the girl is surprisingly cast in a major studio film by a deranged director, the girl’s mother, blinded by her own dreams of success and continues to steer her daughter towards danger.
This enticing premise came about when Proulx was casting a little girl for another film. In his interaction with the girls and their stage mothers, he saw their sometimes extreme behavior and set out writing a film about them, which eventually evolved into Visionary.
Once the script was finished, Proulx and his Director of Photography, Brian Way, saved up enough money to shoot some footage of the movie. To raise the rest of the funds to complete the film, Proulx and Way made a working trailer to attract investors.Eventually the two raised enough money to complete the film and although Visionary delved into a more riveting profile of character relationships instead of focusing solely on the behavior of an extreme stage mother, Proulx says that he was happy with the end result and that it was “smarter than expected.”
He attributes that to everyone who worked on the film and who helped add their ideas, saying “I always listen to anyone who has anything to say because they’re artists too.” The cast and crew in fact became very tight knit, with Proulx exclaiming, “they are literally like family to me…I love those people…We keep in touch. We’re friends.”
Proulx’s interest in the arts started early and he has always been an artist. Initially interested in drawing and taking photographs, Proulx was drawn to film because it was a combination of several different art forms and he found it to be “the most satisfying thing that I could do.”
Although he is currently in LA, Proulx made his first two films in his home state and is contemplating going back to New England to make his third film. If he can, he wants to go back not only because there are better tax breaks in New England, but more importantly, he says, because people are “way more excited about movies.”
Proulx made the decision to move to Los Angeles because he has always wanted to go there. Because attitudes and interests in filmmaking vary from region to region, Proulx advises filmmakers to get a taste of LA, Boston and New York CIty; “I’ve been fortunate enough of getting all three and understand what I’m capable of.”
With plans to submit Visionary to next year’s Sundance and Tribeca Film Festival, 2012 stands to be a big year for Proulx and his film. For more information on Visionary and Proulx, be sure to check out the film’s site.
The Meet-up provides the opportunity for those working in production to network with one another by allowing everyone to introduce themselves and share information on their recent or upcoming endeavors.
The New Hampshire Film & Television Office also holds Industry Roundtables that take place at lunch-time and are more business-oriented meetings with a focused topic. Meet-ups, instead, are structured to allow attendees to drive the discussion. Both types of sessions, however, are geared toward the working media production industry and are free and open to the public.
If you are interested in attending, make sure to RSVP to Matthew Newton at [email protected] or call 603-271-2220. For information on Indiefair Digital Arts and directions to the studio, visit their website. To keep up with news and events hosted by the New Hampshire Film Office be sure to check their blog.
Sweaty Turtle Entertainment presents their latest “Like Life, But Shorter Indie Film Series” this Saturday, May 28 at 8PM at the Jam Factory in Manchester, NH. The series features independent short films from the east coast and various performance art set to a changing theme. This month’s shorts include ones by Darwin’s Waiting Room of Exeter, NH, John K. Fiore of Story Street Productions and Jeremy Newman of New Jersey.
The series came about when Sweaty Turtle cofounder, Rick Dumont, after making his first film, Brothers in Communion, wanted to find a place to screen his movie. One of the extras in his film turned out to be the owner of the Jam Factory and they have held events there ever since.
Dumont, who has said that he “loved the idea of bringing people who are infinitely more talented than I on to help” sees the series as another way to assemble and support creative communities. The show is curated collectively with the cofounders Dumont and his wife Carla Bonney researching and contacting the filmmakers. Not limited to just the New Hampshire art scene, the series accepts submissions from all over the world.
There is a $10 suggested donation to attend with all proceeds going to both animal shelters and domestic abuse programs. For more information on the series or other upcoming events sponsored by Sweaty Turtle Entertainment, be sure to visit their website.
Up-and-coming comedienne and New Hampshire native Eliza Coupe stars in ABC’s latest sitcom, “Happy Endings.” The show, which premieres this Wednesday, follows the troubles a group of friends face after the couple that brought them all together breaks up.
Coupe is from Plymouth, New Hampshire and a graduate of Plymouth Regional High School, where she was very involved in the school’s theatre program. She was on the cast of the last season of “Scrubs” and recently guest starred on “Community.” Coupe was back on the east coast this summer, shooting scenes for the upcoming film, What’s Your Number? in Gloucester, MA. You can check out Coupe’s brash humor on her Twitter page.
“Happy Endings” holds another New England connection, Coupe’s costar, Damon Wayans, Jr. was born at his grandmother’s home in Vermont.
A television show about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost living together in a Boston brownstone may sound like a cheesy Twilight spinoff, but the supernatural hit “Being Human” is the SyFy channel’s most successful winter season scripted series launch in six years. Last week the network announced the program, which launched this January, will return for a second season. ”Being Human,” based on a British series of the same name, chronicles the paranormal trio’s struggles to lead normal, “human” lives despite their supernatural states.
Despite the show’s Beantown setting, “Being Human” is produced by a Canadian company and shot in Montreal. The show still manages to maintain New England roots, featuring New Hampshire native, Sam Huntington as “Being Human’s” loveably awkward werewolf, Josh Radcliff. Huntington’s acting career began in New Hampshire when he acted under the direction of his mother, actress Christine Stabile, at her Black Box Theatre. He continued acting throughout the state including three summers with Andy’s Summer Playhouse in Wilton and his first professional performances in his hometown with the Peterborough Players.
You can catch “Being Human” on the SyFy channel at 9pm on Monday nights or if you haven’t seen the show yet you can catch up with the first four episodes, available in full on Hulu. Check out the trailer:
It is integral for filmmakers to be good communicators. While the methods, techniques, and tricks used to tell the story may very greatly amongst professionals in the field, if you are unsuccessful at communicating your story, then you will be unsuccessful as a filmmaker. Telling a story over a 2 hour span, child’s play for some, telling a story the same amount of time it takes to microwave a TV dinner? Now that’s a special talent!
The Short Short Story Film Festival, which “celebrates brevity in film”, is coming to the Red River Theater in Concord, New Hampshire this month, and will be spotlighting the best in animated shorts, mini-documentaries, comedies, and melodramas, all told in 5 minutes or less. This year, the festival will include forty films, both live action and animated, from around the world including Italy, Colombia, Australia, and Korea throughout both of its two programs.
The 4th annual Short Short Story Film Festival will be in Concord, New Hampshire on Saturday, November 27th. The films will be screened at the Red River theater on 11 South Main Street. Co-presented by MergingArts Productions and Red River Theatres, the festival will present two separate programs, which will each screen twice, and be followed by a post-screening reception. The event is open to the public, and tickets are available for $6 for matinees and $8 for evening screenings.
The New Hampshire Film Festival, October 14th-17th, is a world-class festival showcasing independent films in Portsmouth, NH. Viewers can not only see films and shorts, but can participate in workshops, round table discussions and after-parties throughout the weekend. The NHFF has films in six categories: Features, documentaries, dramas, comedies, animations and student films.
This festival strives to showcase and encourage the independent arts. Students, producers and filmmakers will have the opportunity to connect with experts in the film industry over a four-day period. Since 2001, the NHFF has become one of the most noted independent film festivals in New England.
This year, on the 10anniversary of the festival, the NHFF will screen over 80 films in four days. The Burning Plain with Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger, and the Boston-filmed Don McKay with Thomas Haden Church, are two of the films on the lengthy scheduled this year.
The festival boasts a new website, Twitter updates, and a moving festival trailer. And don’t miss the New Hampshire Film Festival’s annual media party on October, 6th at 5 p.m. at The Page at 172 Hanover Street in Portsmouth.
★ “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” receives its first and only Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series category, while Andover, MA’s Leno is left out of the running and posts its lowest ratings since its first season on the air in 1992.
★ Currently covered in a slew of allegations of abuse, Mel Gibson sells his Connecticut estate for $24 million.
★ Naked shots from the set of What’s Your Number, currently filming in Boston, are of a body double and not Anna Faris.
★ Lexington, Massachusett’s native, and former SNL star, Rachel Dratch is pregnant.
★ Newton’s John Krasinski weds The Young Victoria actress Emily Blunt at George Clooney’s place in Italy.
★ Movie pioneer Douglas Trumbull plans sci-fi film to help jump-start the western Massachusets side of state in movie-production.
★ Originally of Concord, Massachusetts, Steve Carrell’s voice stars in the new animated film, Despicable Me.
“As The World Turns”, the longest ever daytime drama, ends its 54 year run this September. At the same time, a new soap will turn to New Hampshire for juicy story lines, lusty affairs, and backstabbing on a new daytime drama called “Proper Manors”, debuting on MyTv New England this September. The scenic Granite State won’t just be the backdrop in this new series, it will be the hot spot for the plot to thicken and the drama to unfold.
MyTV New England is a local TV station that spotlights life in New England. Instead of airing news, MyTV New England creates features and programs that celebrate living in New England. MyTV New England development executive Christopher Murphy tells HEC, “The development of the Alexius OmniMedia production “Proper Manors” has taken a lot of us at MyTV by surprise. Pietro D’Alessio has no doubt created a career defining project. We wish him well”.
“Proper Manors” creator/director and Hollywood actor, Peitro D’Alessio was quoted by UnionLeader dot com, promising to take all kinds of soap operatic twists and turns as it winds its way through a small New England town and the spirited teenagers who live there with their complicated and intertwined families. Us New Englanders can certainly relate to the gossip that surfaces in small town living, where everyone knows everyone and everything or at least we think we do, especially when you’re in high school where drama just seems to find you! Scandalous.
D’Alessio was also quoted saying “I think we’re getting so much buzz because these are well-developed stories. I mean, how often do you get to create a place where a New York Italian Jew meets Southern aristocracy, a story where the Mafia, white trash and beauty pageants are all woven together with plenty of scandal? I’ve never had this much fun on a project in my life.”
While two homegrown New England day players, Van Hansis and Maura West end their journeys when “As the World Turns” roles their credits for the last time . A new journey begins for another New England based actress, Victoria Rowell who is expected to star in the NH soap. You might recognize the Portland ME born actress from “The Young and Restless” or even “The Bill Cosby Show”. Oh and guess what, it’s not too late for you to be the next soap star to hit the airwaves because “Proper Manors” is still casting! Auditions are by appointment only. Audition inquiries should be sent to: [email protected].
“Actually, the huge amount of press that MyTV New England and “Proper Manors” has actually caused our TV channel to change how we work with local TV Producers before they’re signed onto MyTV broadcast,” Murphy shares with us. “We would like to use this opportunity to launch what will be the first of a series of free “MyTV Film and TV Workshops”. The first will be the “Broadcast TV Producers Workshop” and “Broadcast TV Pilot Workshop” – just RSVP to Christopher Murphy, Development Executive at [email protected] We’ll have more free “MyTV Film and TV Workshops” coming up, so stay tuned,” Murphy adds.
Shooting for “Proper Manors” is set to take place in August. The 26-episode soap will debut September 14th. So, like sand from Hampton Beach, so are the new days of OUR lives in “Proper Manors”.
Jeffrey Gabbard, an Exeter, New Hampshire native is starring in his first feature length film, Witch Way, which will hit Flagship Theaters along the East Coast this fall. Gabbard has been steadily modeling and acting in short films and says he’s been a natural actor since a young age. He’s also set to appear in the FX pilot of “STD” (Sexual Transgressive Disorder) later this year alongside Scott Herman from MTV’s “The Real World: Brooklyn”.
Gabbard’s break-out role was in the short film The Bride, which was shot in Wolfboro, NH. He said he was cast on the spot and was his “make-it or break-it moment” in his acting career.
“I can’t see myself doing anything else,” he said. “It’s always been a natural thing for me.”
The movie follows an eclectic group of college students who are filming a documentary about the cursed Clifton Estate. Gabbard plays Kevin, the awkward guy of the bunch. “A lot of people compare it to The Blair Witch Project but its more of a cross between that and Paranormal Activity,” said Gabbard. Expect some shakey-cam effects to amp up the chill factor and the squeamish beware: There will be blood.
The suspenseful psychological thriller will premiere June 13th in Concord, NH. To get the most natural reactions from the actors, the director withheld secrets about the plot that would come out while filming the scenes. This different technique gave the movie raw and natural emotion from the actors. “It was a lot of improv, the reactions you see are our real reactions,” said Gabbard. That, plus the natural chemistry on set made shooting a great experience for him, he said.
Filming began last September and wrapped in mid-November to avoid the snowy New England weather. Most of the scenes were shot on location at a New Hampshire estate, with some filming at the New England College campus and in Massachusetts.
Witch Way is the first movie of a potential trilogy. If and when the second movie is released it will be on a more mainstream scale and people who haven’t seen the first movie will still be able to follow along.
Don’t miss Jeffrey and the rest of the cast arrive in style at the official red carpet premiere this Sunday, June 13th at 2pm at the Red River Theatre in Concord, MA. Watch the trailer here:
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