Independent film: Lisbon High grad turns heartache into first film



Lisbon filmmaker Alex Cole has already reached the modest crowdsourcing goal he has prepared his next short film “Grace”. But that doesn’t mean people should stop giving.

“We’ve hit 100 percent,” Cole said of his $ 800 budget, “but that was just to rent the cameras and equipment. So any other funds will go to fuel. actors and crew and to pay film festivals. ”

Plus, as the recent Lisbon high school graduate notes, “the plan is to rent an Airbnb for a few days for the home stages,” with outdoor locations in Greater Portland meant to show some of the outdoor glory. from Maine (fortunately free).

“It’s about using the community around us to create the most cinematic experience possible,” the director said for the first time, adding, “Maine isn’t present enough in the movies – I’m delighted to show Maine in my movie. ” (By the way, the legislature needs to pass these still pending tax incentives for in-state film production so that we don’t have to see the next Stephen King movie “set in Maine” that would cleverly attempt to ‘dress Nova Scotia again.)

For Cole, being an aspiring filmmaker from Maine stems from being an aspiring actor from Maine. Crediting her time at Lisbon High under the theatrical tutelage of drama teacher Jennifer Fox (who will play Cole’s mother in “Grace”), Cole points out that, aside from community theater, it’s a tough road. for young actors who work in Maine.

“You are still up, trying to eat,” he said. “There’s very little work to do in Maine, so doing your own project is really the only way to be in a movie.”

Cody Alexander Curtis of Bath, Cole’s creative partner. Photo by Charlie Abrahams

So that’s what Cole did, enlisting another actor and filmmaker from Maine into Bath’s. Cody alexandre curtis To form a creative partnership that has gone so well, the duo plan to move to New York City next year. (“Sometimes you have to go to where the business is,” Cole admits.)

But that was only after Cole’s ambitious plan to complete and create both “Grace” and a planned second film (a “1950s-style film noir” titled “Up In Smoke”) in early 2022. , in which Curtis and Cole will co-star.

But “Grace” comes first. Cole is currently preparing a shoot in October for the planned 25-minute autobiographical short about a troubled young man navigating his first intense romantic relationship.

“I was inspired by real life,” Cole said, explaining that like so many great works of art, “Grace” came to him as a result of “getting dumped”.

“It’s a very personal story,” he said of the drama, with Maine actress Savannah Leavitt. “I saw friends go through marriage, or at least ‘real love’, at a very young age, and it’s a story very close to home.”

Cole won’t share everything about the loaded backstory of the protagonist he plays in the film, but “Grace” creative partner Curtis says with emotion, “This comes from Alex’s personal experience, that he’s been through. It’s really about how, no matter how damaged a person may be, they can eventually find a way to get over it, that things will improve and heal over time, especially with the good people around.

In the end, that’s also what being an independent filmmaker is. Noting that much of the initial support for his film came from those people in his life (the professors and students of the Grand Chief of Lisbon among them), Cole says with gratitude, “It’s a really strange feeling to to have got all this support from the community. , being particularly from a small town in Maine. I really expected us to only hit 50 percent, or something like that. It just goes to show how small Maine’s arts community may be, but it is very tight-knit. “

For Cole, “Grace” was about having a story to tell, and then creating the opportunity to bring that intensely personal story to life. He cites the Oscar rags story of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s “Good Will Hunting” as a major inspiration for this kind of DIY movie making, and if he necessarily starts out smaller, well, it will just make a better success story later.

“Playing is the only thing that makes sense to me,” he said. “It’s the only thing that excites me. Playing on stage or in front of a camera is a feeling that I never knew possible. It makes me feel complete.

You can continue to support filmmaker Alex Cole by donating to the “Grace’s” fundraising page on the crowdsourcing site. Indiegogo.

To learn more about Cole and his fellow up-and-coming Maine filmmaker Cody Alexander Curtis, they encourage taking a look at their different social media profiles (where you can also check out Curtis’ film “SuffocationWhich is currently winning awards on the film festival scene).

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