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Interview: Melissa Pellicano and Christopher Laudando "The Celebration of A Film Festival"

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Eileen Shapiro

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A very special and compelling Film Festival will be presented on February 27th, at SI Makerspace, (450 Front Street, Staten Island New York), from 7-10 pm. The Festival entitled, RCM presents: A Staten Island Film Maker Showcase, promises to encompass and include, film shorts, and film features never presented before to the public.
What helps to make it special, is that one of Huffington Post's video editors, Melissa Pellicano, has helped organize it and will be hosting the event. Knowing that she is far more qualified to explain the phenomenon, I caught up with her, as well as Christopher Laudando, a producer of a film short called, "Sender", to be shown at the festival.
"Sender" is a short science fiction-type film, edited by Melissa, both compelling and drenched with thought provoking creativity, although only 5 and a half minutes long. Both Melissa and Chris were kind enough to grant some insight as to exactly what will be taking place the night of.

Melissa, tell us a synopsis of what the Film Festival is about.
M: I'm putting together a showcase, which originally started as just a small get-together of film makers. I'm part of a film maker's collective on Staten Island, and people look at Staten Island as "just that other borough", and we don't want to be known as that. When I started the film collective our main goal was for the betterment of Staten Island. This screening appears to be getting rather large, because we networked with other film makers on the Island. We're getting more attention and we're collaborating more, with great-minded film makers. It's getting pretty awesome. Chris has put together a short that I edited, called "Sender". It's like a Sci-Fi piece, more like an excerpt because he does have a longer vision for it.
What happens when a film is shown at a festival?

M: A lot of things could happen. Film Festivals are different. Mine is a little easier going. We really want to show some of our best work. My film festival is showcasing each artist, so I have a selection of artists, and I find out what it is that they want to show. A lot of us wear different hats, for example I edit, but I also direct and produce. So, I would pick one of those and choose the word that fits something I would want to showcase. Other film festivals have other genres, some just show shorts, and it really depends on who is throwing it together.
Is your festival mainly for shorts?
M: We are looking to make this an on-going thing, that maybe we will do twice a year, so we're doing this thing next week on Feb. 27th. We are hoping to get some grants in the future by showing our work. We want to hold "The Staten Island Film Festival.
How long does it take to organize a festival?
M: This one took a couple of months because it's small. I've been trying to reach out to different film makers to see who they know, whose work do they appreciate and why. I have two 20 minute shorts that I am trying to show, I'm trying to work out my running time, I have a three hour block. There will be somewhat of a cocktail hour. People will show up, chit-chat, and then we start showing the films. It's a free event for anybody that wants to come.
So Chris tell us about, "Sender", I understand it's in the realm of Science Fiction?
C: Kind of, it's more of a psychological fantasy. It's a short experimental, arty type film.
Let's just say a Hollywood producer walks in and wants the film, can you make it longer?
C: It can be made into a feature.

Give us a brief summary of what the film is about. 2016-02-19-1455852338-4863517-ScreenShot20160218at9.23.44PM.png © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-19-1455852338-4863517-ScreenShot20160218at9.23.44PM.png
C: The main character is plagued by these strange dreams. Eventually he received a mysterious package that begins to move by itself. He then gets a knock on the door and there stands a man he's never seen before in his life. Some type of fight ensues. He opens a door to escape this person, runs through a field to another door, and encounters this other person who says, "we've been waiting for you"..." Now you're home"
Ok stop there, don't give away the ending
C: Some people may think it's a dream, but it's not a dream.
What was in your head when you created the story?
C: I had initially sent the cinematographer an hour long television pilot that I had wrote. He loved it, but I suggested we start off slow. So I wrote a little short film that was simple, "Sender", a ten page short film. It's was a total collaborative project, and I was excited to see what other people could make out of it. This character was probably from another universe or something, and after that door perhaps he was in his true world. There is a million different interpretations of it. It definitely sparks a lot of questions. People may ask what is on the other side of that door...I think it's what you really want it to be.
You must be very excited for the screening.
C: Oh yeah. After this festival it's going to be screened at "The Bright Side Tavern", film festival in Jersey City, and then the "Hang onto Your Shorts" festival in Asbury Park, and a bunch of other places. What's so exciting about it is, an actor from the movie "Clerks", is on the other side of that door. He's has the last lines of the film. His name is Scott Schiaffo, from Kevin Smith's movie "Clerks".

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