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  • Friday, March 27, 2020 1:48 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    How did you come up with the idea and how did you get it going?
    I was living in New York City and feeling a bit homesick for Pittsburgh.  I called my friend Craig Cunningham (a Pittsburgh native), who was living in Los Angeles at the time, and started telling him about an idea I had.  He kept picking up the phone and was a massive sounding board for me.  I finished the script and sent it to Steve Parys, who agreed to direct the episode, and we were off and running.

    What were some challenges that you have encountered?
    I made Mulligan with the hopes a network would see it and want to come on board to fund/help produce the remaining episodes/seasons.  It was a bit of a Field of Dreams but they never did come.  That being said, I’m damn proud of what we created with very, very little money.

    The burning question: how did you arrange the budget?
    We roughly raised half of it through crowdfunding (IndieGogo) and half through individual donors.

    What are the plans for distribution?
    Mulligan is available to watch on Amazon Prime and Facebook.

    Care to share all the amazing accomplishments, awards and selections?
    Mulligan was an Official Selection in Film Independent’s LA Film Festival and Rhode Island International Film Festival, both of which are Academy Award Qualifying Festivals.  We won “Best TV Pilot” at the RIIFF.  This April we are thrilled to be receiving the Indie Award at the Elly’s, run by Steeltown Entertainment Project.

    Which film festivals do you suggest submitting to?
    Pittsburgh Shorts is one of the best Festivals I have attended across the country and they are right here in our backyard.

    Why did you choose to film in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    In short, it’s home.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Scally’s Golf Center in Moon and Barto’s in Coraopolis come to mind.  I’ve been fortunate enough to live and NYC and Chicago, but Pittsburgh is as cinematic and photogenic as it gets as far as I’m concerned. 

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    I’ve been making short films and videos with my friends since high school, but have usually focused on theater.  In the last couple of years my focus has shifted into screenwriting and filmmaking. 

    What do you love the most about your job?
    The people.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    I remember driving away from set on our last night of filming Mulligan and not being able to bring myself to pull into my driveway.  I drove in circles around my neighborhood, not wanting it to be over- and realizing that this was what I wanted to be doing…making art with people I loved.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I am in pre-production of a feature length film I plan on producing and directing here in Pittsburgh.  And yes, we are looking for funding, producers, and crew!

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    So many of my loved ones rely on film and television in Pittsburgh to pay their bills and feed their kids.   Allow artists to change the world with their art by creating opportunities to pay them a living wage.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Hollywood is a myth.  Tell your story, make your art, and  don’t wait for permission.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    …Hollywood is a myth.  Tell your story, make your art, and  don’t wait for permission.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I want to make films in Pittsburgh that we can share with people all over the world.

  • Friday, March 20, 2020 5:35 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    My most recent success was portraying a lead role character in a short film thriller, that has been garnering some great accolades. It was the sort of role that I had been hoping to find my way to for a bit, to prove my versatility, to an audience AND to myself!  Screening currently at various Film Festivals, it has already won an award or two, and seems to be opening some new doors for me. Having done quite a bit of comedic and lighter fare material (my natural default), I wished to stretch a bit, but had to be willing to take a risk.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    I had never thought seriously about acting, but it had frequently went through my mind, and I was very drawn to the notion of "performing". A few years ago, a proposed project in Rhode Island, came across my radar. Basically a hybrid ensemble show, reality based, but combining scripted elements, improvised comedy, hidden camera aspects, a large pinch of social satire, with some trivia thrown in for good measure. The creator, an old friend of mine, brought me on board basically an adviser of sorts, or sounding board. I thought to myself "why hasn't he asked ME to be a part of this crazy crew, he's putting together?" Rather quickly my friend said to me  "why haven't I asked YOU to be a part of this crazy crew, I'm putting together, you're the craziest guy I know?" That was the start of it all! 

    That project wound up attracting some industry interest, including being with a hit show running Hollywood producer for a while, but never went into production. Shortly after that opportunity, I randomly saw a pitch on Craigslist, for ANOTHER unrelated show, based here in Philly.

    I submitted, and was apparently their strongest contender as a cast member. AS we shot sizzle reels on each show, I received great feedback. Industry people and regular folks alike, said I had a natural onscreen presence. That show also had some teases, but too never made it to air. The "Reality" TV Star thing didn't work out, but something had been awakened in me, though I had no idea what to do about it. Shortly after I appeared on a locally produced podcast, and the folks who put that together, randomly offered me a starring roll in their upcoming 45 minute independent short feature film. After that one, I never looked back, searching Craigslist, and eventually Facebook pages, networking, etc. 

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    The thing about "choosing' P.A., is that it chose me! Growing up in the Philly area and never moving out of the region, it wasn't like I was really running off to NYC or L.A., especially in my late 40's as an untrained novice actor, it just wasn't even an option. However. the thing there is now a TON of film work in Philly and radiating out a couple hours. IN fact I read, just today, that Philly is one of the top film cities in the U.S, I love not having to fight and claw with tens of thousands of other folks for a limited amount of roles in those movie towns, yet being able to stay busy.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    I've shot all throughout the region, including the Jersey side of the bridge, but I enjoy filming in regular local spots, and letting ordinary folks feel invested in this thing that so many folks are just in awe of. If their house, business, or street makes it onto a screen, its fun to see their reaction.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    Personally I dig the most, when there is great collaboration and a fantastic result. To me it's all work in service to the final product. There is a host of experiences and feelings along the way, mostly good stuff, but I see screen acting as not paid off if you will, until it hits a screen! 

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Shooting on my first full length feature, a good quirky actor, who nailed his lines, could NOT for the life of him, get this ONE line. He had a particular way of delivering his lines to boot. We had such fun teasing him on the day, all of us imitating that line as delivered in our versions of HIS voice, we were crying. He actually thought we were being cruel at first, and we had to explain that we loved him, his quirky delivery, AND that line, we were laughing WITH him, not at him, as we've all flubbed lines, and it would live on forever as a funny moment, and it surely has!

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I have a BUNCH of stuff coming up, I try to stay very busy. I'm gonna be a Mob associate in the final episode of a Web based Film Noir series. I'm playing a misguided football coach pretending he's (dead) a ghost, in a misguided attempt, which fails, to inspire his players! I'm appearing as a horror character in a popular Rapper's newest video. I've got a small part in feature that's been filming up and down the Turnpike. And more!

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    Being able to work in such a creative filed, where we are fortunate to bring joy to so many others, but where most working actors barely make a living, it's wonderful that there are incentives that can help create more opportunities. This is what I get up for in the morning, and I hope that our officials will recognize the good that the arts do, in addition to the financial impact film making brings to the state.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Work HARD, SHOW UP, listen to folks who have more experience and learn, NETWORK everybody knows everybody! BELIEVE in yourself, but don't be a flaming egomaniac! Take risks, be open, collaborate, play nice!

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    You have to work it HARD! Phone, email, text, smoke signals, whatever. Check in with folks, attend functions, SUPPORT YOUR FELLOWS, don't worry about a lot of paid sites, and b.s. that some folks babble, if you have some talent, work hard, and work hard at SEEKING the roles, you will find them, they ARE out there.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    If you show up and do the work, put your heart into it and take some risks, treat others on set nicely, you will get ahead! I wish I had started a bit earlier and believed that it was a realistic path, particularly that I COULD and WOULD be able to stay working in P.A.!

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Hard not to love the early M. Knight films. I love Silver Linings, as it was filmed all around where I'm from and is such a sweet little quirky film. I have to admit I have such a soft spot for Clean and Sober, as among other things, I bluffed my way onto the set in the 80's, and it was so magical.  

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    I don't have just one, and two of my faves were filmed in Jersey, so they don't count! I did a 48 hour that allowed me to do slapstick, a long time love of mine, but something I might otherwise have never gotten to do. I also love the the P.A. based show, where I basically played me, easy one! My only background work was on the upcoming AMC show Dispatches from Elsewhere, it was so great to watch Oscar caliber performers' crafts.  

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I want to keep doing good work, get better at my craft, book some better paying gigs (as we all need to eat), and a little recognition (notoriety).

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Since I'm the guy in front of the cams, and can't offer much in the way for them to "submit" for my projects, but I'm glad to have them check out my past work and review any opportunities they may have for ME! I'm on Facebook at 
    fb.com/PhillyBigMike and email PhillyActorBigMike@gmail.com.

  • Monday, March 16, 2020 11:44 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article by: Amelia Addor
    PAFIA Writer

    Ryan Shank is an award-winning independent producer of film & branded content who has collaborated with both international and domestic musicians, artists, CEOs, CMOs, and corporate communicators to develop and create innovative and visually stunning narratives to drive sales and brand awareness. 

    His collaborations have included serving as a Project Manager for the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open (Golf) to producing content for companies such as AT&T, Reebok, American Express, Warner Brothers, and Ford among many others. 

    It is these experiences, networks, and creative thinking that bring Ryan into leadership of the Red Rose International Film Festival. He is a Lancaster native and a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University. He lives in Lancaster with his wife Abby, and his son Jackson.

    In 2019, Ryan Shank founded and debuted the Red Rose Film Festival. The Red Rose Film Festival is dedicated to the growth and enrichment of the Central Pennsylvania film community. 

    Through the promotion of independent film, new technologies, and continued economic development, RR|FF intends to expand tourism, industry education, job creation, and better incentives for Pennsylvania film production. RR|FF seeks to expand a thriving arts community in Lancaster, home to world-renowned artists, musicians, and entertainers. This festival recognizes the many voices of filmmakers and innovators across the planet and celebrates their perspectives, cultures, and visions.

    Submissions are now open for the 2020 “RR|FF: The Sequel” - click here! Further information is available on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    What is the “Red Rose Film Festival”?
    The Red Rose Film Festival is dedicated to the growth & enrichment of the Central Pennsylvania film community. Through the promotion of independent film, new technologies and continued economic development, the RR|FF intends to expand tourism, industry education, job creation, and better incentives for Pennsylvania film production. This festival recognizes the many voices of filmmakers & innovators across the world to celebrate their perspectives, cultures and visions.

    When was this idea first conceived?
    The foundations of this festival came from the culmination of years working with others who did the same for their communities, especially to Susan Gorrell, of the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival. She is an incredible leader for her fest in Iowa and she gave this festival a phenomenal example of how film can impact a community!

    Who was the festival created by?
    It’s a funny thing “giving credit”. Year 1: It was a community effort. Sponsors, donors, local filmmakers, national & international filmmakers, our community, our executive team­. Frankly, the RR|FF was created from a huge collective of people buying into a vision of how film can impact Central PA.

    What was the audience you expected versus the audience that arrived
    We had 1000+ attendees over the first weekend. I’m just glad people showed up!

    Would you consider RR|FF to be important to the PA film industry? Why?
    You’re looking at state incentives, right? While the majority of our credits are headed to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia you have an incredible landscape within that six-hour drive time. The goal of RR|FF is to impact economic development, arts, tourism & education in our wonderful state. It’s impossible to create real change if we don’t engage Pennsylvania in its entirety!

    What was the most surprising moment of the latest Red Rose Film Festival?
    Survival? Hah no. The surprise came from filmmakers. So many of them came up to our team and asked, “This is your first year?”. We planned to be actively engaged in our community throughout the year, so the greatest surprises were in how seamless year one played out.

    Who participated in the most recent one? Who do you hope will participate this coming/next year?
    Lancaster showed up! PAFIA came in rolling deep for the whole weekend. We had 40 of the 76 films represented over the weekend by directors, actors, crew, and producers. Speaker panels included film professors, innovation and tech professionals, filmmakers, and industry insiders from around the country. Our hope in 2020 is to replicate that type of participation and maybe throw in some additional surprises!

    How would you describe your vision of the next Red Roses to come?
    In a word? “Long-term.” We will be an Awards Qualifying hub for filmmakers and innovators. A platform for Global Perspectives to make a Local Impact.

    Would the future festivals differ from the latest one? How?
    2020 is about refining the overall experience of the RR|FF. Filmmakers, volunteers, patrons etc. we want to make the experience flow for everyone. In future years we will expand, but Year 2 is about immediate growth in the community.


  • Friday, March 13, 2020 10:45 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    My most recent success is Rigor Mortis, a film in which every cast and crew member was treated like family. I accomplished this by paying attention to how a lot of independent projects have been rumored to mistreat their cast and crew. So I wanted to make sure that any project of mine was not this way.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    Actually by accident. I was down on my luck with a failed business and a messy divorce and child custody hearings lined up back to back. I saw an ad in the local newspaper about a Hollywood production looking for background actors.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    The freedom of writing what you want, directing how you want, and producing a film how you want without the strict guidelines of APAA and Hollywood Foreign Press.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Hands down, three of my favorite shooting locations have been the Lawrence County Community Action Partnership, the John F. Singer Mansion, and the Monongahela Valley General Hospital, all of which are listed on the Pittsburgh Film Office’s website, for locations.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    I love the challenge of how to create something innovative in an inspirational story that has never been done before; something that I know will inspire audiences to be, do, and have the best of what life has to offer.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    The most awkward on set story is when there was an actual corpse in a funeral home that we shot a scene in - the funeral director assured me that there would be no “customers” in the funeral home, but there was one and we all had to work around it to the best of our ability.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    Of course. The Whites, Lethal Guardian, and Twin Flames, all of which have a special meaning behind them, and where they are all parallel universe anthology films.

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    PA’s elected officials have to know that Pennsylvania has a lot of freedom to write, direct, and produce the kinds of projects that audiences will be entertained to watch. Everything in Hollywood are remakes and live adaptations that are becoming redundant and predictable. Pennsylvania filmmaking is a treasure trove of ideas that can be (and should be) the new market of entertainment in films that capture the imagination of audiences, if given the opportunity.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Study unconventional skills that have nothing to do with acting or filmmaking, but can skyrocket your career. For instance, study sales and marketing; you have to be able to know how to sell yourself, sale your brand (as an actor or project), and overcome objections that if one knew how to look for what is actually being asked, they can avoid a lot more rejection. Marketing is just as important because one must know what and who they are as a brand (or their filmmaking product is as a brand), where to target specific influential people based on that brand, and how to increase your worth as a brand.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    In my experience, when you know, and practice, your unique brand, producers, directors, agents, casting directors, and managers will start to look for you. Until then, study how to make yourself stand out with sales and marketing wisdom.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    This is going to sound redundant, but the value in sales and marketing is truly an asset to one and their career. It really sets a professional apart from an ametuer.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Not just because it’s my own film, but because the ideas, morals, ethics, and unity of everyone on board with Rigor Mortis has a lot of special meaning to me and everyone involved with it.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Again, not to sound redundant, and not to make it too personal, but Rigor Mortis has by far been my favorite project. Not just because it’s personal, but personally the morals, ethics, ideas, and unity of everyone involved with Rigor Mortis has created lasting friendships and value with one another.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    To create innovative films that make people think that it could be possible to address real world problems and make a difference in someone else’s life by practicing humanity, vulnerability, and humbleity in ways not thought of before.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    One could submit themselves by visiting ShelBeth Entertainment’s Facebook page to be up to date with what is happening in our own little part of the world and then submitting an inquiry by messaging us. That link can be found here.

  • Friday, March 06, 2020 3:14 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Aaralyn Anderson is local to the Philadelphia area and has worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. She started acting when she was just 2 ½ years old. Her very first job was for Nickelodeon. Aaralyn is best known for her recurring costar role in the Netflix Series 'Maniac' alongside Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux, Sally Field, as well as other Hollywood heavyweights. Aaralyn can also be seen on the NBC hit show New Amsterdam, ABC's Primetime show What Would You Do?, Strahan & Sara, Dead of Winter on the ID Channel, CBS's The Good Wife and more.

    You can Follow Aaralyn on Instagram @AaralynAnderson


    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?

    Most recent success...Hmmm...I like to look at everything I do as a success, big or small. If I am acting, to me, that spells success.


    How did you get started in the film industry?

    When I was a baby everyone would stop my mom wherever we went to 'look at the baby'. They would always tell her I should be on tv or in magazines. She made a joke online about how I was the famous Target baby. A friend of hers had a friend who was a child model and offered up a legit manager. The next Target trip my mom came home and sent an email and they picked me up right away. As I got older, we revisit every year what I accomplished, what I hope to accomplish and if I want to stay in the business. My answer to that question is always Y-E-S!


    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?

    I LOVE working in Philly!! It's close to home. We have an amazing network of super talented film makers right here in our backyard. That's excuse enough for me.


    What are some of your favorite filming locations in Pennsylvania?

    Wow, there are so many amazing places. I have filmed on the streets of Philly to the farms in Bucks county to inside people's homes and studios. I think maybe the farm where I filmed the AAA commercial is probably my favorite because there was lots to do in between takes.


    What do you love the most about your job?

    I love a good script and a character that challenges me. I like to think how they would think or feel.


    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?

    Welllllll, it was when I was filming a scene in MANIAC. It was Jonah Hill, Me, Emma Stone and my 'siblings". We were at the dinner table. It was the 90's. I was suppose to hate asparagus. We did a few takes. Our director, Cary Fukunaga, likes actors to go with what they feel their character would do. So in the moment my character, Danielle, felt the need to throw the asparagus. So I chucked them and as they left my hand they went straight at Emma and nailed her. I swore I would hear "CUT" immediately but I didn't.

    Emma bent down, picked up the asparagus and said "I don't care that they hit the floor you are still eating them" as she placed them on my plate. Then she finished the scene in character like it was nothing. Afterward I made sure to make a quick apology but she said "hey ya went for it, I admire that".


    What are some of the challenges of being a child actor?

    Sometimes I have to bounce in and out of schoolwork, jumping right in to delivery of lines on set, so that can be challenging. Oh and sometimes there isn't much for me to eat from craft services because they gear the menu more toward the adults.


    What is your advice for other children in film?

    Don't compare yourself to anyone else in the biz. Go in the room, give it all you got then go back to just being a kid. Leave it there.


    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?

    I do. Just waiting on all the info. Stay tuned.


    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our politicians about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?

    As an actor it makes me very happy at the idea of more and more work coming to Philly. Atlanta has been able to have a competitive market to that of LA and NYC so why can't we? After all, film started right here IN Philadelphia so why can't we take some of these old warehouses and make them into studios? Not only would actors have more work but everyone would.


    What is your advice for the aspiring child actors? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?

    If you don't live in a huge market for the commercial/TV/film biz you may have to travel A LOT. The No's are just as important as the YES's. In fact there is a guarantee

    you will have way more No's than Yes's and that's OK.

    Steps to take: Research, Research, Research. Network, Network, Network.

    Some mistakes to  avoid:  Don't fall for scams.  If anyone asks for money to rep you RUNNNNN! Legit Managers/Agents in the industry never ask for money. They get paid when you get paid. Period. End of Story.


    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?

    Honestly, I am a kid so my manager and agents find the bulk of the opportunities for me in the bigger markets. I can say that people do remember you and the impression you make so always keep that in mind. And parents of child talent need to remember that as well. I have been lucky to have worked with some of the same people in the Philly market on different projects. Someone who I worked with might mention me to so and so for their project or someone who was at a screening saw the work I did for one Philly film maker and reaches out to us for their project. Its really nice. I appreciate that.


    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?

    I listen to everything that goes on one set. How a director talks. How the gaffer stands. How another actor preps. You name it I pay attention to it all. I hope i always do. I think listening and watching is the best way to learn.


    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?

    Well that is an unfair question lol I love them all:

    Frank Williams' Never Go Back : Zombie film was super scary and gorey. I loved learning about the SFX .

    JFR Media's (micro short) Das Litch Drinnen : I got to use my French skills and was challenged doing some of my own stunts. Which I LOVED!!

    Shelia Crump's Colors On The Otherside Of The Tracks : I loved it because I got to wear dresses that were my mom's when she was my exact age.

    Noble F Production's The Arrangement : I loved because I got to see Andrew Hunsicker in a new role. We had acted together on several projects in the past but this was the first time I got to see him as a writer, producer etc.


    What is your favorite project that you worked on?

    Again another really hard question but I would have to say MANIAC. It was my first as a principal character in a series for Netflix. The Premiere was the cherry on top!


    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?

    To be working steadily. Oh, and a kid series or movie would be a bonus!



  • Friday, February 28, 2020 12:51 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    How did you come up with the idea and how did you get it going?
    About four years ago, I came across an article about a skip tracer who became a skip maker by using the internet to hide his clients’ digital footprint and thought it would make a great series. However, I was working on other projects and I forgot about it until 2015. Once I decided to make this my next project, it took me 2 years to break the story and another to cast the right actors.

    What were some challenges that you have encountered?
    The two biggest challenges for me has been scheduling and money. A lot of the episodes are made based on the availability of the actors. There was a 16-month gap between Season 1 and 2, several of the actors are either no longer in the area, no longer acting or have moved on to other projects. In regards to money, while many of the cast and crew were fine working for free, I decided not to go that route for Season 2. This was one of the main factors for the 16-month gap as I wanted to pay my actors more than gas money for Season 2. Even though the budget for Season 2 was larger than Season 1, it was still relatively low and I was upfront about the budget with every crew members that I contacted. There were a few no’s but surprisingly there were quite a few yes’s.

    The burning question: how did you arrange the budget?
    Mostly through a combination of savings, crowdfunding... and selling the occasional expensive Funko Pop!

    What are the plans for distribution?
    The first two seasons are currently available on YouTube, however the third season will only be available on Amazon Prime.

    Care to share all the amazing accomplishments, awards and selections?
    Since its inception in 2016, Herrings has been selected by nearly two dozen film and web festival, including Seoul Web Fest in 2019. The show has also received numerous nominations and over a dozen awards, including: Best Cast, Best Actor for both Dax Richardson and David Ogrodowski, Best Drama (2017 Baltimore New Media Web Fest), Best Supporting Actress for Mia Park (2017 Baltimore New Media Web Fest), Best Director (NJ Web Fest 2019) as well as Best Thriller (2019 Miami Web Fest).

    Which film festivals do you suggest submitting to?
    While I wasn’t able to attend every festival Herrings was selected , the festivals I attended and found the most engaging and informative are New Jersey Web Fest, Miami Web Fest, Baltimore Web Fest, Minnesota Web Fest and Pop Up Anthology.

    Why did you choose to film in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    A lot of the storylines in Herrings were based on real-life incidents that took place in Philadelphia, so it only made sense to film there. The thing I love about working in Pennsylvania is that how much filmmaking is embraced here. Not just in Philadelphia, but also Easton, Allentown, Pottstown, Altoona and Pittsburgh.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania
    While the show is set in Philadelphia, I would have to say Easton has become my favorite filming location as the people are very friendly, reasonable and engaged in the filmmaking process. In addition, areas of Easton feature close enough approximations of locations and establishments in Philadelphia.

    How did you all get started in the film industry?
    Well in a nutshell, I got my start in 2010 when I created a screenwriting group called the Dysfunctional Screenwriters Society, where once a month we had live table reads of screenplays written by local writers, read by local actors. I ran the group for five successful years but after working with a couple of filmmakers on their projects, I decided to take the plunge and direct my first short film, “Relationship Status” in 2012. That’s when I officially “caught the bug” and subsequently wrote and directed three more short films for the 21-Day Film Competition in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    Working with the actors, getting the best out of their performance and seeing the words on the page come to life.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Oh that’s an easy one. Okay, so during filming of season one there was a scene set in a park and I happened to find the perfect spot, which is a walking trail and right across the street from several rowhomes. Now since the walking trail didn’t have an address, I used the address of the rowhouse directly across the street from the trail and I made it abundantly clear that the address was not where we were filming. Well, unfortunately, Dante, one of the Production Assistants didn’t read that part and when he showed up, he not only went to the rowhouse, but upon seeing that the front door was opened, went inside the house! Suffice to say, the owner was a more than a little freaked out and a few minutes later, we were paid a visit from a very confused but very understanding police officer.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    Besides filming season three of Herrings, I’m co-starring in a horror comedy called “Batsh!t” that was filmed last year in Pittsburgh and is currently slated for release October 2020.

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    If it wasn’t for the acting community in Philadelphia taking a chance on me ten year ago, there would be no Dysfunctional Screenwriters Society and there would definitely be no Herrings. There are so many talented filmmakers, production staff and actors throughout PA and it’s ridiculous to force them to relocate to other states when that money could easily be spent here.


    What is your advice for aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Steps to take: Don’t let your gear deter you. Films have been shot on everything from iPhones to DSLRs. If you have a story to tell, do it. Don’t be afraid to start small and don’t fear rejection. Enter as many film festivals as possible and get yourself a credit card, preferably one that offers airline miles. Most of all, treat your cast and crew with the same respect you’d like from them.  When you treat them as people and not commodities, that goes a long way to making your set a harmonious one. Actors, if you don’t get a role, don’t take it personally. Even the most successful actors had to deal with losing a role at some point. Also, don’t be afraid to speak out if there are any problems on set, filmmaking , especially indie filmmaking is a collaborative effort and filmmakers should be willing to compromise in order for everyone to feel comfortable.

    Steps to avoid: First and foremost, leave the ego at home. When you’re on set, you’re a part of a team and nothing disrupts a team more than negative energy. Also, be mindful of what you post on social media, especially about any projects you may have worked on, as it shows not only a lack of professionalism but a lack of trust and no filmmaker wants that on their set, no matter how talented you may be. Filmmakers, whenever you get a free location, make sure to get it in writing and also contact who ever is letting you use the location, prior to filming, just to confirm that the location is still available.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    There are so many things but the biggest one is learning to deal with adversary. You’re not always going to get it right and you’re not always going to get the job. Dream big but stay grounded and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, especially if it’s for a project you believe in. Plus, the camaraderie you form with your peers can lead to not only lifelong friendships but even possible job opportunities.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    Good question. When I first started out, it was to be simply a screenwriter. However, now with the success of Herrings, I would love to be a showrunner and eventually direct a feature.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    The best way to contact me is via email at www.aquariarts.com or via aquariartspictures@gmail.com.

  • Friday, February 21, 2020 2:08 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    The last feature I worked on had to be turned around in 2.5 weeks, which is an extremely tight deadline for a 90 minute narrative feature when you’re handling all aspects of the audio post. There were editorial issues and my assistant and I received the project 3 weeks late without synced production sound and missing several shots and almost all the VFX. While it’s not unusual to receive a post-audio project in less than perfect circumstances, it is pretty insane to turn around a 90 minute film in 2.5 weeks. I had my assistant work on the basic dialog editing for each reel while I developed the sound design, communicated with the composer about where cues were going to be, recorded and synced Foley, and later mixed the dialog as well as completed a final 5.1 mix. We met our deadline in time for the premiere and the studio exec and investors were very pleased. There’s still more work to be done to prep the film for the international market but that first phase was intense.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    Like a lot of sound people in the film industry I gradually transitioned over from the music industry as illegal downloads and streaming became the norm and ate away recording budgets. I’ve been working in audio since 1995 but in TV and film since 2005. It started with helping out friends with their shorts. Eventually word spread and requests to work on TV and film projects outnumbered music projects. It took a while to develop a solid client base because many people around Philly thought of me as just a “music guy”. That gradually changed the longer I worked exclusively in film and became friends with some very talented Philly-based production sound mixers.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    Pennsylvania has a little of everything. I can live in a diverse urban environment but be in the Amish countryside or the Pocono mountains in a little over an hour. The ability to quickly transition between these environments make the state conducive to a wide array of projects, which helps to keep work interesting.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    I work with a lot of LA and NY based production companies. I’m usually the only local on set so I become the defacto ambassador for Pennsylvania, which I love. My favorite places to film are in Central-PA, specifically Centre County and the rolling hills of the farms as well as in the state forests north of there. I did a feature called “The Lost Within” (directed by Steve Gibson) many years ago around the Lewisburg area and it’s beautiful. It was shot on farmlands, an old motel near Lock Haven, in a newspaper office in Sunbury, and a trestle bridge outside Williamsport. It’s a great film that also showcases the wide variety of scenery in PA.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    I especially like the variety of projects that I get to work on and the variety of people I get to meet on those projects. Within any given week I could be working on a documentary about water conservation in rural PA, an interview with an Eagles player, a true crime docu-series, and doing sound design on someone’s feature. All these jobs bring different personalities, work methodology, and unique personal backgrounds. I graduated from PSU with a B.A. in Anthropology and I’ve always been fascinated with other people and their stories.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    As a production sound mixer you often hear things you can’t unhear. If you’re not careful and diligent while working you can hear some pretty awkward things. I’m a vault both professionally and personally. When you mic someone up you have both a moral and professional obligation to be discreet with anything you accidentally hear off camera. I turn faders down anytime someone isn’t on screen but occasionally you catch something very awkward. I usually ignore it and keep it to myself but every once in a while I’ll hear something that I think may embarrass the person saying it and I’ll discreetly remind them that they are wearing a hot mic. Everyone appreciates when you respect their privacy and look out for them.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I think the next PA-based project is sound design and general audio post for some corporate videos for the Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company. I’m also in talks with a director about doing post on a horror feature that takes place in and around the abandoned town of Centralia, PA and in a large cave around that town. I’m excited about that one.

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    I just wrapped on a PA-based feature that benefited from the tax credit, which was filmed in Reading. The credit not only provided the opportunity for a month of uninterrupted work but it literally put money in the hands of my local community. Productions spend a lot of money in the locations they shoot in, way beyond just the wages of local crew members. Everything from dry cleaning, catering, hotels, Uber drivers, permits, location renting, private security, etc., it all gets hired locally. Providing a larger tax credit will attract more productions to Pennsylvania, which will literally put money back into the hands of local residents. The tax credit pays for itself many times over.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    There’s no magic secret to success in this industry. It’s all about just working hard and treating other people well. I could be the best sound mixer around but if people don’t enjoy spending a long day with me then I wouldn’t get hired. The best advice I could give is to take pride in your work and always be mindful of what other people are going through. The people you are working with can become some of your closest friends.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Finding future work is just as much a part of your job as working a gig. Figure out how many hours you want to work per week and treat each of those work days seriously. It’s also a good idea to find the professionals who have worked on projects you love and start making connections with them and their circles. Overtime, your name will start to get passed around and more jobs will come.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    The best advice that I could give is to be humble and remember that it’s not a race, it’s a marathon. Figure out what “success” specifically means to you and devise a plan to gradually get there by working hard everyday.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Trading Places. Though not entirely shot in Philly it’s one of Murphy’s best comedies and I love the scenes in Rittenhouse Park.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Hmmm, I’m not sure about my favorite project of all time but a recent one that I absolutely loved working on was a documentary for the Canadian Broadcasting Company called “Rare Bird Alert”, which was about Birding and Birders. Interestingly, we spent a lot of time interviewing people about the relationship between bird watching and punk rock. I had no idea there was a connection but I found it fascinating. Birders in general are fascinating people.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I love what I do and feel very fortunate to be able to make a living doing it. As a freelancer, I don’t always get the chance to pick what I work on. My goal each year is to continue carving out a path where more and more of my work are documentary projects on the lives of musicians, social change, and nature. Even when the job isn’t my cup of tea I still enjoy the work and the people I get to work with. Being able to support myself and my wife by doing what I love is a great feeling.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Anybody needing professional production and post-production audio services should check out my website to learn more about me and my work. If you think I’m a good fit for your project then I’m just a phone call (or email) away. I can be reached at www.nadasoundstudio.com.

  • Friday, February 14, 2020 1:03 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    Being an older actress the opportunities for leading roles are more limited however at the end of 2019 I was offered the lead in the short (80s style) slasher film called Pizzaman made in South Philadelphia by a local team of female filmmakers (Rosalie Kicks, Katie McBrown)

    Rosalie is also the creative force behind a movie review magazine called Moviejawn...See Moviejawn.com.   I was offered the role based on my audition tape.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    When I decided to dip my toe back in the acting waters I attended a New York weekly workshop lead by acting, directing veteran Bruce Orenstein (Saturday night fever, the Great Wallendas, Vamperifica). He encouraged me to get headshots and start auditioning for student films and then branch out to independent films. It was very exciting as I had only done theatrical productions before that.  I found a new creative outlet and loved it.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
     I am a native Philadelphian and love when I get work in Pennsylvania —- then all my energy goes towards the production and not traveling. Also I find there’s a great network of filmmakers , actors and crew in the area and a wonderful camaraderie on the projects I’ve been lucky enough to book here.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    I did a commercial at a resort in the Poconos. It was beautiful. I’ve also narrated a reenactment TV show in Lancaster and found that to be a great filming area.  I was so surprised when I was able to procure a courtroom location at the law offices of former colleagues and it turned out the space had also been used once before for the movie Trading Places.  Philadelphia has some wonderful historic buildings and Fairmount Park is said to be the Champs Élysées of the US .  Who can deny that the Art Museum steps make a wonderful backdrop.

    But my favorite Location was my own South Philadelphia row house which was used in Todd Inman’s web series “Delayed Gratification.”

    What do you love the most about your job?
    I love the thrill of not knowing what comes next.  As a lawyer I had a very structured and predictable trajectory.  As an actress I’m always surprised at what creative project is being developed and the variety of characters I am able to become .  I also love the fact that with film and TV the project is there for posterity. I look forward to sharing the film Ghost Goggles with my granddaughter (only 18 mos) when she is a little older. 

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Just this past November when we were filming Pizzaman the date picked for the outdoor scene had to be the coldest and windiest of 2019.  I had focused on the good luck of there not being rain fog or snow… However with the wind chill it was only 29° and it was supposed to be a spring day -all I could wear was a sweater (between takes I bundled up inside the car).  The funny thing was that when we supposedly left the shop where we bought all kinds of knitting material, I put the shopping bag down in order to open the trunk and an unexpected wind knocked everything out of the bag and dozens of balls of yarn went sailing across the enormous strip mall parking lot.  To watch the crew running helter skelter after all these balls of yarn and not being able to catch them was quite a sight.

    What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    While not a female filmmaker myself,  I have sought out films written directed and produced by women because the stories are often  the ones that resonate the most with me . Recently what comes to mind is the film Hedda Needs Help and a web series called Ghetto Nerd Girl both being distinguished by great poignancy humor and festival awards.  What I find with female filmmakers is they seem to go the extra mile to be taken seriously. The numbers show that the industry still is predominately male and I believe it’s harder for women to establish the same networks and conquer the financing aspects of successful filmmaking.  What is so important is that women mentor other women and be there as a resource so that one day it’s only a question of meritocracy.

    What is your advice for other women in film?
    You should go with your instincts if something doesn’t sound legit it most likely isn’t and you should ask around if you are unsure. No project is worth compromising your values and there are plenty of honorable creatives in the field.  You need not subject yourself to any kind of abuse.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    The following PA projects should be coming out in the spring:  the pilot for a series called Reel Life directed by John Rifici of Omega Media Productions, the feature film What Do I Do Now directed by Joshua Coates ,  Mr.  Blue Shirt directed by Mike Stewart, Arisen2 directed by Richard Chadwick and Pizza man referred to above.  I am also in a web series now filming out of Philadelphia called The Drop Spot produced, written directed by Nicole Stephenson, her daughter Christina Evelyn and Loretta Graham  

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    When I was working on the board of the California company Pets Central Media, we were forming a partnership with Philadelphia local Beryl Wolk (now deceased) and looking for where best to film our edutainment series. At the time we discovered and were quite impressed with the facilities in Aston, Pennsylvania of Sun Center Studios.  Based on their getting the tax credit they had assumed in their projections we were ready to go forward but for other reasons our plans did not pan out.  It was then that I realized how important the tax credit was and how advantageous financially it was with these credits to have filming In the greater Philadelphia area.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? 
    I can speak best to the Acting side -constantly work on your craft. When you are not on set or rehearsing you need an “acting gym “ In Philadelphia there are some great training programs I personally have  attended Playhouse West with Tony Savant , the Actors Lab in Wayne with Bryan Fox,  Ken McGregor’s master classes and coaching and classes with Drucie McDaniel. I can honestly say they are all excellent and as good as training in LA and New York plus you would  have a very close knit community of serious professionals and should  take advantage of these relationships, you can be readers for each other,  film each other ‘s auditions and if you’re smart you’ll create your own projects and cast each other.  Get really good headshots from professionals who know the business and learn what types are in your wheelhouse. Those are the parts you should audition for.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    I’ve always found Film.org, Actors Access, Backstage and Casting Network to have the most casting notices. Of course having a good agent is important. Knowing and developing a good relationship with casting directors is also important. There are Facebook groups for actors that will list upcoming projects (you can learn the names from other actors you work with)  go to industry meet and greets and bring your headshot and resume. There are also opportunities in New York to meet casting directors at for example One on One or Actors Connection but this can be rather costly.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    I wish I had realized early on how important it was to fully prepare for an audition… It’s not just learning the lines it’s watching the show if it’s a TV series (knowing the tempo, who the other characters are, production style, etc.) or looking at other work of the director.  If it’s a commercial understand everything about the product  Also had I realized that it’s not whether you are cast in the particular role you’re auditioning for but more importantly the impression you’re making on the casting director then  it becomes a more enjoyable process. It’s true you are really auditioning for the house and will be brought in for other things if you give the best of yourself.  ...a little patience goes a long way.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    A three-way tie:  Witness a real nail biter and the pivotal scene was at 30th St. Station, Sixth Sense it took place in a South Philly row house like mine and In Her Shoes.  I couldn’t believe the scene at the Jamaican Jerk Hut at 1436 South St., a former favorite hangout of mine.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    My favorite local PA film was the feature film What Do I Do Now.  It was based on a true story and for my character Bubby I felt I channeled my own grandmother.  It ties with the ongoing series Sangre Negra where I play Alexandra Levy a savvy socialite widow. 

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    To have a recurring role in a popular series (fingers crossed that will be Sangre Negra which is to be picked up by the El Rey network this year).  

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
     If I have an upcoming project and there is casting going on I usually post it on social media.  I would encourage people to contact me on Instagram, FB or Julie-chapin.com.  I will reach out to other actors I know If I think they are good for a part that I know is in the works.

  • Friday, February 07, 2020 11:11 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What are some of your biggest achievements in the film industry?
    I had landed a role in a Amazon Prime production with Dreality Films playing a reoccurring role on a series called Porte Richmond. Shortly after, I landed a role on another series called Honey Child with Dreality with the same director, Domini Supastar. In Porte Richmond, I played a crazy cat lady neighbor. In Honey Child, I played a career counselor at Temple University which serves as the backdrop to the show. Cinematically Temple University  looks amazing on film. It has been a  great experience being on set and shooting for both these parts with the same director. I have numerous stage experiences in 2018 including Uptown and working with the talented director Rodd Deon. In addition, I had a role in Downtown Dreamin written by the super talented Bethel Sheppard Bates. Roz Fulton, from Direction and Exposure has been a huge person referring me for auditions that fit my type.  

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    Being cast by the same director, Domini Supastar in both Porte Richmond and Honey Child.

    How did you get started in the film industry?I started as an extra in movies such as Taps and Blow out filmed in Pennsylvania. I had a family and took a break and now that the kids are grown, I can pursue my passion again.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I am a born and bred Philadelphian. I feel that Philadelphia is like a mini New York City. It has the same vibe as Manhattan being in the city and I love being a part of that new  and vibrant restaurant scene that Philadelphia can now be touted for. 

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania? Philadelphia and Valley Forge. I was a film major at one time at Temple University and did a project at Valley Forge National Park shooting some days in the snow. What an experience it was!!!

    What do you love the most about your job?
    It is just so exciting to be able to act and be a part of a production from beginning to end.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    It was mostly in theatre, but the lead would always change his words and we had to always guess when our cues were.

    What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    I just think it is a matter of getting the same respect as males do which is a given. Females have to work doubly harder to earn that same respect.

    What is your advice for other women in film?
    Just do it and do not hold back. Start in small increments until everything becomes second nature. Remember baby steps in the beginning

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    Yes, a show called Runways , from Rollo Robertson Productions as a Madam. 

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    We need the tax credits in Pennsylvania to keep our industry strong in PA so all the work does not continue to go to Atlanta, Georgia.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers?
    Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid? Continue training. I train with John Pallotta. Every thing helps in building your craft to becoming better at what you are doing.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Backstage, getting an agent, reading industry newsletters , join acting Facebook groups, networking, going to industry functions.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Never Give Up.  Keep going. If you have a dream, continue to push forward in the direction you want to go.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Creed 2 - I was an extra in that movie.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Porte Richmond to date.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    To be a series regular and a paid professional actor to live off of that career.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    I am not writing anything right now but that could be something in the future. You never know.

  • Tuesday, February 04, 2020 3:15 PM | Jennifer Butschle (Administrator)

    Article By: Amelia Addor
    PAFIA Writer

    Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day date? Something that will surely go down in the date books as “iconic”? Well, what’s more iconic than Italian love? “That’s Amore” has been sung by the greats and featured in movies throughout history. Now it is the title of a classic-movie-in-the-making created by Joe Puglisi and Dr. Dave Petti.

    What started as a passion project stemming from a shared film class ended as a three-year local film project starring comedians and actors famous to Pittsburgh. The two men created Little Italy Productions to launch “That’s Amore”. Their adventure from script to screen was one Joe and Dave took in stride no matter what obstacles came their way as producers, writers, directors, and friends. “That’s Amore” has so much to offer Pittsburgh audiences of all ages, and welcomes the local support that came through casting, crew work, and post-production assistance. The community both inspired and helped make this movie possible.

    Catch “That’s Amore” at the Strand Theater on Main Street in Zelienople, Pennsylvania about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh. The film debuts Friday, February 7 at 7:30 pm, February 8 at 7:30 pm, and February 9 at 4:00 pm. The last screening is on Thursday, February 13 at 7:30 pm, which will be the red-carpet night for cast and crew.

    With a tagline of, “falling in love was never part of the plan”, there are few movies as heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny as “That’s Amore”.  Described by David as “a romantic comedy for people who are just a little bit older”, it’s about four Italian-Americans who find love and friendship through adversity and confusion. A nurse named Lucia (played by Tammy Pescatelli) has a mother, Rosa (played by the late Barbara Russell) who is ailing and needs heart surgery. So, Lucia devises a deal with her mother to get married to Lucia’s dentist, Rocco (played by Dave) with the help of Rocco’s best friend Gino (played by Joe). For more information, buy tickets here, or learn more about the film here.

    Dave, Joe, thank you for taking time for this interview. Please tell me about who you were before you became filmmakers.

    Joe: For me, I have owned businesses and am currently a faculty member at La Roche University as Chair of the Marketing Department. It’s not that I gave up my jobs to be a filmmaker, it was just something I decided to do with Dave in addition to continuing the job I had.

    Dave: I was a dentist who practiced for about 40 years in the Plum-Monroeville area. I graduated from Washington and Jefferson College and then after that I graduated from Pitt Dental School. Now I’m retired.

    How did you two meet one another?

    Joe: Dave and I met each other in acting class. I can’t really give you a year, but I can guess that it was somewhere around 2013. I’d run into Dave in a class I took twice a month, so I got to know him much better.

    Dave: I had actually been an actor in the Pittsburgh area since about, oh, the early ‘90s. When the film industry came in, throughout the years I did basic film-work, print media, and commercials off-and-on. I got back into the full swing of acting around six years ago. That’s when I really went full force into the workshops and revamping my acting part of my career. As far as a filmmaker that came about when Joe and I said, “it would be neat to make a film”.

    When was Little Italy Productions started? Is “That’s Amore” the first film produced by the studio?

    Dave: We formed Little Italy Productions when we decided to do “That’s Amore”. And yes, it is the first film produced by our studio.

    Joe: We plan to do different things with LIP after the premiere of “That’s Amore”.

     Is it inspired by anything in particular?

    Joe: These things evolve and take a while before we settle on a final idea or story, but we always had “Moonstruck” (1987) in the back of our minds.

    DaveI think the whole concept was inspired by the fact that, Joe and I being actors in Pittsburgh, you’re not in NYC or LA or even Chicago where people of our talent and drive would be out to a lot more auditions with a lot more opportunities as an actor. We decided to try and do something on our own to showcase our talent and to put something we truly cared about out there.

    Where was “That’s Amore” filmed?

    Joe: It was all filmed in Western Pennsylvania.

    Dave: The principle location was in Plum Borough. We used my previous dental office to film the dental scenes and my daughter’s home for Rocco’s house. We also filmed in Pasqualino’s Restaurant in Murrysville and the Italian Club in Sewickley. In Ellwood City, Pennsylvania we used my brother’s house as Lucia and Rosa’s home, the Ellwood City Hospital was used for hospital scenes. Meadville for several of the scenes following

    Tell me about who stars in the film and why they were chosen for the roles.

    Dave: We needed someone to play a middle aged single Italian woman for the lead of Lucia. For years, I had followed the comedy of Tammy Pescatelli and she was always just so funny. When it came time to casting the role, I said “let’s try to get in touch with her” because she was just too perfect for Lucia. We had no idea where she was- for all we knew, she was in Hollywood. I sent over the script, which she liked immediately, and wanted to be involved in the project. Then we found out she lives in Meadville, which was just extremely convenient for us.

    Joe: The woman who plays her mother is Barbara Russell, who had a fantastic reputation in Pittsburgh thanks to her roles on “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”, George Romero’s “Day of the Dead”, and her 1960s comedy routine with Don Brockett. Unfortunately, three weeks after we wrapped filming for “That’s Amore” in 2018, Barbara Russell passed away. We were truly lucky to find talent like her and Tammy, so we were blessed to have them on set. Dave in particular was vigilante about going after them, talking to them, seeing if they liked the script, and having them be part of our film.

    Dave: I play a dentist and Joe plays a college professor because, well, you write what you know!

    Who was this film made for?

     Dave: We wanted to make a film that was family friendly. In Pittsburgh, it’s always horror films or action films. And Joe and I have played our fair share of Italian mob bosses. We really wanted characters that everyone could relate to. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or young adult: you’ll get it. If you’re older, you’ll certainly get it.

    Joe: Anyone who wants to laugh and find a heartwarming movie!

    How do you plan to reach a wide audience with your first premiere?

    Joe: One thing that do is proceed with trying to get a wide audience and awareness for the film.

    Dave: The first premiere will be local, so we’re doing our own marketing outreach (and we thank you for PAFIA’s participation) and we will go on to distribute the movie through limited theatrical release as well as on streaming services afterwards. First and foremost, we want to reach everyone we can in the Pittsburgh area.

    What are you most proud of with the finished product?

    Dave: We’re most proud that it is a finished product! Most film projects that start out never get finished no matter what kind of movie it is. So, I’m just so proud that we just kept on pushing, persevering through any obstacle that came in our way.

    Joe: I participated in the writing of the script, helped with the hiring of the crew and the cast, I acted in it, and was part of the post-production and marketing of it. So, what I’m proud of is the finished film that we have. Part of it is that we took our time, we had very talented people in every aspect of production, and every step of the way was met to the standards we started with.

    What was something you had to learn about film “the hard way”?

    Joe: To call it “the hard way” is to learn what you don’t know at first. Learning how to button down the details you couldn’t anticipate before filming, like getting insurance for the equipment to following Screen Actors Guild rules. All the stuff you don’t think about pre-planning a film.

    Dave: I have to say post-production. Post-production has a lot of elements to it. The filming actually went very smooth. We never missed a filming day, we never missed getting all the shots we needed, the weather cooperated, the locations cooperated, cast and crew cooperated, we were just blessed.

    What was the process in getting the film screened?

    Joe: Basically, I contacted different areas, different movie theaters, so it was a huge marketing process. Getting people to become aware of it and getting some support and gaining agreements to get the film properly released.

    Dave: Mostly this was Joe who went around to local theaters and said, “hey, we got a film that needs to be screened”. The Strand Theater being so close to Ellwood and being accessible to everybody in Pittsburgh was just a great fit. They gave us four nights for four different screenings to premiere this film. Because Tammy Pescatelli has performed as a comedian at the Strand, they knew of her and knew our film would be a great asset to the theater.

    Any last thoughts?

    Dave: The film itself was a labor of love, persistence, and passion. It will continue to be as we distribute it. We will let everybody (and their brother) know that it exists because I think they’ll find this film fun, romantic, and comedic with some elements of drama sprinkled into it. We accomplished that without the multi-million-dollar budget. “That’s Amore” will hold its own against those.

    Joe: For me it’s been a very fun process. I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve been very, very impressed with the people I’ve met in Western Pennsylvania who’ve supported and help us with this film. I mean, we’ve had over fifty people involved in the production, marketing, and post-production. I think there are so many more films of caliber that will come out of this area.

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Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
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(717) 833-4561  info@pafia.org

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