'Local Warming' film is extremely local for Fairfield
Published 1:04 am, Friday, May 7, 2010
There might be some locales familiar to Fairfielders in Local Warming, a feature-length comedy premiering this weekend at the Fairfield Community Theatre. Lake Mohegan makes an appearance, as does Stratfield. The downtown area is also the backdrop in some scenes, with the train station and interior of The Pantry each playing a role.
The indie film was created in Fairfield, with many of the crew and actors coming from the area. Director and writer Tom Reilly, who lives in town, hailed the town as a prime location to shoot a film since people are so willing to help out.
"You have tons of resources to pull from, from the casting right through to the shooting," he said. "We know all the areas and all the people who have been doing the films with us for ten years. If you're looking for a hill, a store or a lawyer's office [to film] you probably know the people and can ask them."
About 85 percent of the scenes were shot in Fairfield, with the rest taking place in Bridgeport and a couple in Washington D.C.
Fairfield isn't known as a Mecca for filmmaking, he said, so people in town are always eager to aid in the production. For the 2007 movie, Bobby Dogs, which was recently picked up by a distributor, the owner of Super Duper Weenie loaned his colorful hot dog truck for several weeks.
Local Warming, which is Reilly's third film, is a labor of love for Brooklawn Productions (www.brooklawnproductions.com), a group of local film enthusiasts that hold down day jobs while giving all they can to their passion of making movies. Everyone working on the film spent weekends, evenings and vacation time to get the film done.
"With each film we reach a little bit higher and our aspirations are to create a better film both artistically, technically, more efficiently," said Reilly, who works at a brokerage firm. "We do everything ourselves, such as writing the scripts and editing [the film]. That's a lot of people."
"Why do we do it?" he added. "Because we're crazy and we like doing it."
One of those people involved in the process is Rob Lynch, a musician who composed the film's score. By day, he's an engineer for a fragrance company in New York City. While he's making that grueling commute on the train, he's thinking of what music might work in a film and jotting down his ideas.
He plays bass in the band The Distractions and has written jingles in the past, but composing music for a fictional character rather than a crowd is an entirely different beast. He toyed around with some ideas until he found his voice for the film, so to speak.
"Something whimsical and light with a little bit of a hit to it," is how he described his work.
The creative process
In Local Warming, Fairfield resident Caroline Winterson plays a zany music teacher who decides to single-handedly reverse global warming. Her foil is an environmental teacher who believes global warming is beyond any person's control. Comedic mayhem ensues in this off-beat film, but so does an underlying message of hope and positivity.
Reilly was cautious with the subject of global warming, not just because it can be a political and divisive issue, but also because it could be a boring subject.
"The last thing that I personally want to watch is a dry boring, film," Reilly said. "What we did is we took a concept and we really went off-base with it."
He said that the movie doesn't take sides in the debate, either.
"We will have failed if there's even a touch of preachiness," he said.
When she heard about the premise for the film, Winterson, the lead, was immediately attracted to the project.
"It's looking at how we live our lives, the dynamic of feeling very overwhelmed by the serious nature of things going on and what can I do about it?" she said.
She hasn't seen the final product yet, but she speaks highly of the time she had while in production, even though some treacherous scenes involved her falling in a brook or riding a speeding bicycle down a steep hill. Adding to the intrigue was a distinct lack of brakes on the bike.
"The wonderful thing about working with Tom is that he really brings out the best in people. Part of it is probably because he doesn't have to make his living from it, so he doesn't have that same kind of pressure," she said. "That being said, he's just a great guy to work with."
Before she met Reilly about five years ago, the mother of two had some experience behind the camera working on productions in Ireland. She teamed up with Reilly in his previous film, and while she was helping in the casting process, she was asked to play a role in the film. Since then, she's done some theater work while working as a yoga instructor and in a doctor's office.
After the movie's run at the Fairfield Community Theatre, Reilly said there are plans to show the film in Washington D.C. and then hit the film festival circuit to spread the word about the film.
"Love it, hate it, laugh or not, you're not going to see something like this anywhere else," he said. "That was one of our objectives."