Fairfield producer to showcase film at Greenwich Film Festival
FAIRFIELD — For aspiring actor and Fairfield native Marc Underhill, relocating to Los Angeles after college was, as many others would say, the move.
It was after a start in writing and producing in Los Angeles that the 2005 Fairfield High School graduate turned his sights back home for “Auggie” a movie that delves into the intricacies of human loneliness, relationships and technology.
“We started writing the film with the intention of filming this in my parent’s house,” Underhill, 32, said in a phone interview. “What was cool about shooting in Fairfield...all these locations like the pantry, the grocery store and on Jennings Beach... they were so excited to have us and the community opened its doors.”
“Auggie” — co-written by Matt Kane and Underhill — sees Felix, who is forced into an early retirement, navigate the gray areas of a relationship with an augmented reality companion only he sees while living with his wife and daughter.
A fan of “Her”, the 2013 film starring Joaquin Phoenix that explores a similar theme, Underhill said he wanted to tell a story about loneliness, technology and relationships.
“It’s kind of an exploration of technological infidelity and how it affects our relationships in the real world, an augmented ‘fake’ affection and the messy, real complexity,” Underhill said.
“Auggie”, featured in the Greenwich Film Festival next weekend, is set for a May 29, 7 p.m. showing at The Avon Theatre in Stamford and a June 1, 12:30 p.m. showing at the Bow Tie in Greenwich.
As with any movies filmed in town, producers must file film — or location — permits through town hall and several departments, including police, fire and even public works, have to sign off.
“We get (film permits) all the time,” Parks and Recreation Director Anthony Calabrese said. “This is for indie films, student films, we’ve had a ton of films here, including Revolutionary Road (a 2008 film featuring Leonardo DiCaprio).”
“Auggie”, filmed in February last year, highlights several spots in town, among them Jennings Beach which holds a “soft spot in my heart” according to Underhill.
“(During that time when we were shooting) it wasn’t snowing in our street but it was bitterly cold,” Underhill recalled. “The scenes at the lifeguard stand, standing next to it takes a lot of acting skills.”
According to the town website, any film project that takes place on town property requires a location permit and, sometimes, a police officer. Fees for “big-budget films and TV” can go up to $500 a day while student films can go up to $75 per day.
“(The process) can take a few weeks at a minimum,” Adair Heitmann, from the Office of Community and Economic Development in town, said. “There is certainly a process and production, management and everybody has to have emails and telephone numbers.”
Underhill, who will participate in a Q&A with members of the cast and crew at the Greenwich Film Festival, said he’d be happy to screen the movie in town at Penfield Pavilion or another location though details would have to be worked out with Samuel Goldwyn Films, the media company that acquired the U.S. rights for the movie.
“We’re definitely looking for creative ways to share this film from the area, it’s a really cool opportunity for us to have made a film cheaply,” Underhill said.