The Making

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The idea for this film began more than ten years ago when best-selling novelist Robert H. Lieberman wrote the first draft of the screenplay. There was an attempt to launch the production, but the funding proved insufficient and Lieberman went back to the drawing board. The idea that he ultimately came up with was to set the movie in a real town with many of the townsfolk playing themselves. He would employ a fictional core of professional film actors but surround them with local people in such a way that the viewer could never quite discern the boundary between fiction and reality.

The obvious choice for a cinematographer was one with extensive documentary experience. When Emmy Award winning Polish filmmaker Slawomir Grunberg joined the team in August 1999, bringing with him his equipment and crew, the production was finally off and running.


1200 headshots and resumes of actors poured in from around the country and final casting calls were held in New York. The five major roles were put under contract and a production manager was hired.

 

When word spilled out that the film would largely be shot in Ithaca, excitement in the town grew. Everybody wanted to be in the movie. This was their big chance for fame! The locals turned out by the hundreds for auditions and, once the shooting began, there never was a shortage of extras, never a problem getting the ideal location, props or logistical help.

The people of Ithaca opened their hearts and gave generously of their time, their homes and jet aircraft, their police cars and trailers and goats. In the resulting film, cops play cops (and jailbirds), lawyers, mayors, pilots and transvestites play themselves. And then there are actors. Can you guess what's real?

This collaboration between a novelist and documentary filmmaker evokes the passionate dreams of writers, composers, actors and other misled souls mesmerized by the movies.

© 2019 by Robert H. Lieberman

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