Local Artwork Headed To Silver Screen

There are minimal props on the shallow stage. An actress stares straight ahead, takes a breath, collects herself. A lot is riding on the next few minutes as she prepares to audition for a role in My Brother Jack, an Independent film that is online to begin filming in New Haven this March.  The mystery-thriller, written by writer-director Stephen Dest, a New Haven native, will be the first film produced at the new UpCrown Studios at 216 Crown Street.

Dest’s commitment to using New Haven as the backdrop for his film, with as much local casting as possible, will extend to his use of artwork by two local visual artists—painter Lawrence Morelli, who has a studio at Erector Square and is a member of Kehler Liddell Gallery, and found-object sculptor, Silas Finch who maintains a studio at 39 Church St. in New Haven. The work of the artists will represent creations of two characters in the film, but will also be the subject of a new exhibit at The Gallery at UpCrown Studios opening on Friday, Jan. 14, from 5 to 9 p.m. The event will be an opportunity to learn more about UpCrown Entertainment Group and will highlight ways for the public to become involved.

Unlike the work of actors who have may have only one opportunity to make an impression during the high-stakes casting call, the work of the two artists chosen for film has had a long time to seep into the director’s consciousness: “I have known Larry Morelli for nearly 20 years and his work and insight have always been an inspiration for me. His paintings are haunting and beautiful with a large scope for interpretation. Perfect for storytelling,” commented Dest.

Silas Finch Photos

The work of sculptor Silas Finch, whose art will represent the work of the film’s main protagonist and is a vital element in the telling and overall vision of the film, came to the director’s attention in an unconventional way. “His work first came to me in a dream when I made the decision to have the work of the title character, artist Jack Burns, represented by sculpture,” Dest said. “I dreamed of pieces that told stories of childhood loss but also spoke of beauty and salvation. When I walked into Finch’s studio, my dreams became a reality!” Finch will be creating a special commissioned piece just for the film, according to Dest.

The film itself, appears close to becoming a reality. Pre-production financial goals were realized last October through the unique online fundraising enterprise known as Kickstarter.com. As the work of making the film moves forward—selecting a technical crew, finding locations, auditioning actors and acquiring sponsors and investors—certainty grows that the directorial refrain of “Action!” will soon be heard on the streets of the Elm City.

To learn more about the project and read a brief synopsis, visit www.facebook.com/mybrotherjack.  For additional information and investment opportunities please contact Executive Producer, David A. MacNiven at (203) 233-2610 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).   

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posted by: stephen on January 7, 2011  1:30pm

See you at the January 14th Opening!

posted by: Lori on January 7, 2011  4:09pm

Hope we get to follow this production along the way. Would love to see it through a local actors eyes as well as through the director. Good luck to all.

posted by: Bjorn on January 7, 2011  4:43pm

What an amazing confluence of the visual arts, film making and New Haven creative talent.

posted by: dana w on January 7, 2011  5:37pm

The art is such a unique concept and what better way to showcase a new art medium than in a film.  I love how the artist personalized the artwork not only to himself, but to the viewers as well.  The art will provide people with a feeling of connectedness to the film.

posted by: John Sepulveda on January 7, 2011  7:02pm

Dave - Nice article promoting the film, the city and featuring the local artists.  As an artist, I expect you enjoyed covering this piece.

posted by: Crecia on January 7, 2011  10:42pm

This is so exciting and I can’t wait to follow the progress of this amazing project!

posted by: Lou on January 8, 2011  6:47am

If you goto http://www.silasfinch.com you can see more of Silas’ work and view information on other events he will be participating in within the next few months.

posted by: nate on January 10, 2011  12:36am

Both the artists’ work and the film sound really interesting. I hope to make it to the opening at UpCrown next Friday!

posted by: muffy on January 10, 2011  10:38am

As a long time collector of Lawrence Morelli, I am very pleased to see that his work will be shown to a much broader audience.  He has been an important contributor to the New Haven art scene for years, and I am hopeful that this exposure will give him the attention he so well deserves.

posted by: David on January 10, 2011  11:30am

Looking forward to a great evening.  Hope to see you there.

posted by: Lupe on January 10, 2011  3:35pm

Amazing to see all different tendencies of art with one goal. Dave, you are unique.The way you write means a lot. You value everything and know how to communicate to people . We appreciate your point of view and your style.
Keep writing.

posted by: Adrienne on January 10, 2011  6:56pm

How nice that Dest is incorporating the community’s theatrical and artistic talent in the creation of his upcoming film. Best of luck to all involved.

posted by: Stephen on January 12, 2011  10:15am

I love this city! Thank you for your continued support as we move closer to actually filming this wonderful project (not to mention amazing artwork) we are very close to reaching our financial goal but we still need your help. Thank you so much. See you at the Gallery! Phen

posted by: Michelle Webber on January 16, 2011  2:50pm

Hi Dave,

Such a sweet article.  If I lived there, I would be there.  How exciting that something like this is happening in New Haven.

posted by: P.J. on January 20, 2011  12:50pm

This is such an exciting project for New Haven! Your continuing coverage is excellent!