Only seven months ago, the independent film directed by Allen Cognata, The Putt Putt Syndrome, wrapped up shooting in Winthrop, Maine and as of today, the film’s trailer has already received over 5,400 hits on Youtube. The film, which features Jason London, Thea Gill ,David Chokachi, Heather Tom and Robert Maschio, follows London’s character Johnny, a happily married man who decides to test his bitter friend’s theory about why marriages fail. Johnny, who doesn’t want to believe his friend’s ‘Putt Putt Syndrome’, suddenly realizes he has all the symptoms himself.
When Hollywood East Connection last spoke with the producers of The Putt Putt Syndrome, René Veilleux and Donald Roman-Lopez of Verité Films, they had just finished wrapping up the film and were very excited about the outcome. They are even more thrilled that the film is complete only 7 months after wrapping principal photography. “A lot of films can end up in post-production purgatory,” Veilleux and Lopez tell us, “but together with our director and producing partner Allen Cognata, we had a clear vision of how we would get the film to the finish line as quickly as possible.”
A few months ago, Veilleux and Lopez decided to test the screening of the film with friends and industry professionals. As they read the feedback, one of the viewers wrote, “I do trailers. I work at a trailer house in LA. I really love the film, and would be happy to help you guys with a trailer.” Later, trailer editor Stefanie Crisman took the rough cut of the film and produced an incredible trailer. Veilleux and Lopez are so grateful for Crisman’s work and were blown away by how fantastic it turned out. Watch the trailer below:
Both producers are very modest about the work they have done but had no problem raving about the cast and crew. “It takes a village to raise a child,” Veilleux tells us, “and we really could not have done this without all of the support from the community and our hard-working cast and crew.” Lopez and Veilleux feel very lucky that they got to work with such an “amazing” post-production team as well, including editor Dino Marc Pascarelli in New York City, and composer/sound designer Craig Jansson in Melbourne, Australia. “Both of these teams have gone above and beyond to make our indie film look and sound outstanding,” Lopez tells us. “Sound is a very important element, it could make or break the movie, and we got really a top notch mix!” Veilleux and Lopez are overwhelmed with the response the movie is receiving and are looking forward to the future of the film.
As the film, continues to putt putt along, its first screening will be on February 6th in Winthrop, ME at the Winthrop Performing Arts Center. “We are really looking forward to going back to Winthrop and sharing the film with the cast and crew,” Veilleux tells us. Check out director Allen Cognata’s live interview on 92 Moose Head, central Maine’s hit radio station, where you can hear him talk about the film and leak a red carpet appearance in Winthrop. Cognata will also be conducting an interview airing this Thursday night at 7pm on NBC’s WCSH6 in Portland, Maine.
The film will then continue to putt putt down the coast and into New York City on February 12th for the second screening at the Tribeca Theater, where they will meet up with more cast and crew. It will then head to Los Angeles for another cast, crew and industry screening before they continue submitting it to festivals.
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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