From Oct. 2 -21, Marty Lang and Gary Ploski will shoot the independent film, Rising Star, in Hartford. The movie tells the story of an overworked insurance employee who finds online love along an unexpected journey.
And Hartford’s business community is being invited to play a role.
The film will shoot six days a week in the Mark Twain House and Museum, the Connecticut Science Center, Bushnell Park, Cedar Hill Cemetery, the Union Place bus station, local bars and clubs and the general downtown area. So far, 118 local residents have contacted the producers via their on-line forum — risingstarmovie.com/contact/ — to become extras in the film.
The principals discussed the inspiration for their film and their process of collaborating with local businesses to make it possible:
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for the story?
A: MARTY LANG (writer/director): I’ve never been an overworked insurance worker, but I’ve definitely been overworked in other jobs. I started looking at the things I was sacrificing for my job — my hobbies, my leisure time, even my romantic relationships. I started asking myself “What’s really important? Is it possible to have a work life and a personal life these days?” So I thought, if a character was going to ask himself that question in Hartford, where would he work? Well, it’s the insurance capitol of the world. That part of the story was pretty easy. And the online romance part of it comes from my own life; when you run around as much as I do for work, you don’t have much time to meet people.
Q: Can you talk about what you’re doing in terms of funding?
A: LANG: Everything about this film is independent. We have to find people we know, people who believe in us, and who believe in our project. And we have to figure out how to make it for almost no money.
GARY PLOSKI (actor and co-producer): Rising Star has been accepted into two highly regarding funding houses: Kickstarter (kickstarter.com) and IFP, Independent Feature Project, (ifp.org). The former launched in April 2009 and the latter in 1979. With Kickstarter, we have until Sept. 15 to raise $15,000. The unique aspect about Kickstarter is the give-back approach. For $28, a supporter will receive the film on DVD along with a few other things. At $2,012, two people will be given the opportunity to decide what a character wears in the film. IFP provides a different option that we hope will interest businesses. Any contribution to Rising Star through IFP is tax deductible.
Q: How will you be partnering with local businesses?
A: LANG: First off, we’re looking at local businesses as possible locations in the film. We’re also hoping that the notoriety of a movie shooting in a business will help drive customers to them. The first business who’s come on board is Pet Playgroundz of Norwich (www.petplaygroundz.com), a pet fencing company. They’ve agreed to donate 10 percent of any sales to Rising Star, if the customer requests that our movie get the money. We’re helping them by letting our mailing lists know about their business, and they’re helping us by giving us money we sorely need to get the film made.
Q: How have your campaigns on social networking sites helped with funding?
A: PLOSKI: Via Twitter, we have found contributors from Minnesota, Oregon and Connecticut. Our YouTube account has allowed us to talk with visitors as though we are in the room with them. Our Facebook page has begun filling up with pictures of people saying that they too are Rising Stars. We are building a following one person at a time.
Q: Is this your first film/screenplay?
A: LANG: I’ve produced six feature films, all in Connecticut, but this is the first feature that I’ll be directing. I plan on making more films in Connecticut in the future. I think the arrival of Connecticut Studios to South Windsor will be a huge help for that.
Q: From a creative/artistic eye, what about Hartford will complement your film?
A: LANG: I think the downtown area is so dynamic and people will really be surprised when they see how beautiful it really is. One of our scenes takes place on a city bus, as our two main characters ride through town, and I think that scene, among others, will let audiences see what Hartford is really like.