Ridgefield filmmaker aiming for Christmas premiere of latest flick
RIDGEFIELD -- Ridgefield filmmaker Joe Fremont wants to screen his independent film, "Through Different Eyes," in New Milford and Ridgefield by Christmas.
Fremont has been working on the film since 2002, when he started writing the script about six students who learn about life and social differences through their college relationships.
In late 2004, Fremont was in Ridgefield shooting the low-budget, independent film with a cast of actors just out of film schools in New York City and starting to make names for themselves.
Actor Roger Wu, who plays Asian student Raymond Chan, had just appeared in a "Law & Order" episode on NBC. Actress Carolina Hoyos, who plays Hispanic student Miereia Cepeda, was frequently featured on television's "MTV Hits" show.
Budget constraints and securing locations to shoot put the film on hold, but Fremont didn't lose his vision. Filming resumed with shots in Manchester and at the Oxford-Waterbury Airport and the New Milford Health & Rehabilitation Center in 2006.
Fremont found dedication to his film in the two actors he called back in to complete it, Debra Jans and Joseph Schommer, graduates of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
Mother's Day weekend 2007 found Fremont wrapping the principal photography. He is now in post-production, compiling all of the footage to make the film.
The next step is to screen the movie for potential backers, so he can raise money to take it from this early stage to working with a full film crew and paid actors.
"The format I'll be using is unique," Fremont said. "Usually, you'll see a 10- to 20-minute short form made to generate investor's interest. I started out with that in mind, but the response to the script and idea has been so positive, I'm creating a 50-minute version on DVD to show."
Fremont's film is no "Animal House."
It's a realistic look at six young men and women coming to terms with who they are in relation to the society in which they live, said Mary Ann Wong, Fremont's wife and the film's production designer.
Fremont had previous experience on independent films, including work as a boom operator. He became convinced the best films are the result of "organic" filmmaking -- working with the site of filming exactly as it is.
That philosophy made shooting at the New Milford Health & Rehabilitation Center doable, he said.
"The center served as our hospital for scenes in which the character Kristy is visited by her mother and boyfriend while a patient," Fremont said. "We spent a period of five weeks shooting on weekends. We'd shoot around the clock on weekends so not to interfere with the center's staff's care of the patients."
Fremont's use of the rehabilitation center was arranged through the New Milford Film Commission, which facilitates locations for film crews coming into town.
"When location people want to film in Connecticut, they Google and ours is the first film commission to pop up," said Keli Solomon, chairman of the commission.
"They (Fremont) said they needed to find a location for a hospital scene, and New Milford Health & Rehabilitation Center was up for it. They were wonderful and so accommodating."
Solomon once stopped by the center at 1 a.m. to see how shooting was going. Fremont and his actors had started shooting at 9 p.m. They wrapped up at 3 a.m.
"I went into the front lobby and they were all set up with tracks and booms. It was great," Solomon said, noting that Fremont was ideal to work with, showing respect for the center's functioning.
Fremont is hoping for a Christmas 2007 premiere in local movie houses.
Solomon said it is entirely possible that could happen in New Milford.
"We have spoken to Gary Goldring, the new owner of the Bank Street Theater, and he is open to holding viewing of local filmmaker's works and films shot in New Milford," Solomon said.
Fremont knows a lot is riding on this next step.
"It comes down to one question, can I get my audience to care?" He said. "You have to tell the story, making your flawed characters real.
"All the characters in 'Through Different Eyes' stay flawed, but not so flawed you lose interest in them."
To view stills from and read more about "Through Different Eyes," visit www.tdemovie.com.
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