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Dovere For Camden

By Gary Wien

originally published: 01/23/2018

Dovere For Camden

Dovere is an Italian word for responsibility, respect.   Joseph M. Paprzycki and Pepe Piperno felt a responsibility to deliver the respect that their beloved, broken city - Camden, New Jersey - deserved. Once a thriving city, Camden fell on hard times in the 1960s and 1970s. Drugs, crime, and corrupt politicians brought the city to its knees. Joe, Pepe, and a small group of folks came together to breathe life into Camden by investing their creativity, hearts, souls, and treasure to turn what used to be Joe’s grandfather’s abandoned bar into a professional theatre.

Their story is told in the documentary, Dovere for Camden, by Douglas Clayton.  The 27-minute film will be screened at the New Jersey Film Festival in New Brunswick on Saturday, February 10th along with the short films Fractured, Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times, and Clasico.

“The story is about the plight of cities that were once honorable, great cities and then they’ve fallen from grace and are struggling,” explained Clayton.  “Some cities are coming back.  Here’s the example of Camden, New Jersey.  You have these two guys (Paprzycki and Pipemo) who were born in Camden and spent their formidable years there, but their families moved away once the city started to get tough. And then many years later - and separate from each other - they decided to try to make a difference; to try to do something for their old neighborhood and city.”

Clayton himself grew up just outside of Camden in Collingswood.  He was inspired to make the film after seeing a production of Last Rites (a play by Paprzycki) at the South Camden Theatre with his wife and his brother.  

“After the play was over I wept,” recalled Clayton.  “I was so moved by the play and by the tenacity of turning an abandoned building into a nice theatre. This guy wrote what I think is an outstanding play.  Everything about the evening just got to me.” He told Paprzycki that he was looking to make a documentary and wanted to tell Joe’s story.  



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While Clayton had never created or directed a documentary before, he had produced several corporate videos for his Human Relations job. He was involved in a series of HR films that utilized parodies of popular films like The Godfather, Field of Dreams, and Star Trek.  Initially filmed on a low budget, the films inserted humor into otherwise dry topics and utilized employees (including upper management) in roles.  The films were so effective and popular that they were soon able to get significantly larger budgets for their work. Essentially, his HR films proved his thesis: “Total Recall: The Impact That Film Has On Learning.” Learning in this case meant retention.  

The HR films also gave employees a chance to see a different side of management.  Clayton recalled one film which contained a short scene with a CEO in his office putting a golf ball.  Even though the scene itself was just a few seconds, people said it helped to humanize him.  “It helps to make some of the senior executives who appear in the movie more approachable.  And if you use people that people know it has an effect on memory and retention, while being fun.”

Dovere For Camden

With the larger budget, they were able to hire a production company to make better videos. They were the ones in charge, but during the making of his documentary he was the one in charge. He soon learned that making a film was a collaborative process, but, at the end of the day, the director has to be the decision maker. He also quickly realized how much work was involved with planning and scheduling interviews and making sure people showed up on time and that the sound and lighting was right.

At first, Clayton says they didn’t know if the story was going to be about the theatre or Paprzycki or Camden. “We said let’s just start filming and see what happens,” he recalled. In the end, he discovered that he had a much more universal story than he originally thought.  

Hometowns are a very special place to many.  Even though people may grow up and leave their hometown, they tend to remember the positive aspects long after.  It’s like Tom Petty singing, “I ain’t sure, but it seems I remember the good times were just a little bit more in focus.” While cities like Camden, Newark, and Trenton have a reputation for rough areas, residents know there is much to love about the areas as well.  Sometimes it is the people of the area, sometimes it’s the friends you remember, and sometimes it’s simply living in a city that is considered the underdog - one that you always want to see win in the end.  Films like Dovere for Camden show why people would continue to live or fight to save such cities.

“Since I’ve shown it to a dozen people, even people from Europe say, ‘I’ve never heard of Camden, New Jersey, but I can relate to the story.’ So that told me there might be a bit of universal appeal to the story.  The other thing I’ve been hearing is people have written to me online and said things like, ‘I grew up in Camden.  I can’t tell you how much this film means to me.  I’m going to go to Rutgers and I can’t wait to see it.  I loved growing up in Camden, but we had to move out - it just became too violent.”

Clayton was assisted on the film by Raymond Padilla, a recent graduate from Mercer County Community College. Padilla earned a producer credit and also did the post-production work, turning six hours of film into the 27 minute final cut.

“It is an honor to have my work in Camden memorialized in such a passionate film,” said Paprzycki. “Doug poured his heart and soul into telling the story in an emotional and truthful way.”



 





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2018 Westfield International Film Festival To Take Place September 20-23
(WESTFIELD, NJ) -- Anybody can go to a movie theater to watch a film, but the Westfield International Film Festival is bringing movies to the mansion with its sixth season at the James Ward Mansion in downtown Westfield from September 20 - 23, 2018!  The festival will span a four day weekend and will include Q&A sessions with actors and filmmakers, networking opportunities, and red carpet parties.
JCTC FILM Premiers DEKA-LOG, New Series Depicting Contemporary Urban Life
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- A new anthology web-series by an up and coming, Jersey City-based filmmaker, premiers at Merseles Studios on August 23rd when Jersey City Theater Center presents DEKA-LOG: a Finding Me story.  Doors are at 6:30pm, screening at 7:00pm.  Admission is $10.
​​​​​​​The Newton Theatre Presents a Silent Film Halloween With A Live Orchestra
(NEWTON, NJ) -- The Newton Theatre presents a trio of ghostly silent films paired with the original historic orchestral scores on Saturday, October 27 at 3:00pm. Travel back to the early 1900s to cheer and hiss with Buster Keaton in The Haunted House (1921), Laurel and Hardy in Habeus Corpus (1928), and Charlie Chaplin in One A.M. (1916). Between the films, enjoy the rollicking rhythms of the early 20th century as played by The Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra, featuring favorites by Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin, and more! Fun for the whole family!
A Look At New Jersey Film Festival's Fall 2018 Lineup
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The 36th Bi-annual New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 will take place at Rutgers University in New Brunswick from September 14 - October 26.  The festival showcases new international films, American independent features, animation, experimental and short subjects, and cutting-edge documentaries through over 30 film screenings. The Festival will run on select Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. The festival is presented by Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Rutgers University Program In Cinema Studies.
​​​​​​​Montclair Film and Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center To Hold Free Screening of "MILK"
(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- Montclair Film and Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center will present a free screening of MILK (2015) on Wednesday, August 29th at 10:30am at Montclair Film’s Cinema505. The screening, presented in celebration of World Breastfeeding Month, seeks to educate and promote breastfeeding among nursing and expecting mothers.


Newark Black Film Festival
​​​​​​​Richard Wesley is a playwright, screenwriter, and professor of Dramatic Writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and has been involved with the Newark Black Film Festival for well over three decades. A Newark native, he’s currently the Chairperson of the festival’s Selection Committee. The NBFF is currently in full swing, with a screening of Cadillac Records tomorrow, and the biennial Paul Robeson Awards for young filmmakers taking place on Wednesday, August 8. This season’s program also features the films Selma, I Called Him Morgan, The Art of the Journey, Coco, and Hidden Figures. We recently spoke with Wesley about the history and mission of the Newark Black Film Festival, the role it plays in the lives of young filmmakers, and a chance encounter with Sidney Poitier that launched him into the film industry.
REVIEW: "Skyscraper"
Over the last half century, the concept of blockbuster spectacle has flipped on its head. In the 1960s, big budget spectacle meant Steve McQueen jumping over a barbed wire fence on a motorcycle without the aid of a stunt double, or Julie Andrews screaming her lungs out on a Swiss mountainside. Science fiction was relegated to Saturday morning screenings of b-movies, which parents would use to relieve themselves of their tykes while they went shopping. George Lucas  changed all that a decade later, and now sci-fi and fantasy dominates the multiplex, while the only movies featuring practical stunts are those low budget straight to VOD action movies designed to showcase the athleticism of former MMA fighters.
REVIEW: "BlacKkKlansman"
Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman isn’t a remake of Ted V. Mikels’ infamous 1966 grindhouse staple. Rather it’s based on true events (“Dis joint is based on some fo’ real, fo’ real shit,” reads the title card, because Lee is apparently a 12-year-old boy), the story of how rookie cop Ron Stallworth (played here in a star-making turn from John David Washington, son of Denzel) became a member of the Ku Klux Klan in 1978, despite being an African-American.
REVIEW: "When I Sing"
Most of the world learned of Linda Chorney in 2012 when her name was listed as one of the Grammy nominees for Best Americana Album. Her film, When I Sing, not only follows her rise from obscurity to the Grammy Awards, it goes much further.  It’s a love story between a die hard Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan; a spotlight on how indie artists survive on the road; and a deeply, revealing portrait of how the media and the music industry turned what could have been a wonderful Cinderella story into a very hurtful experience.
REVIEW: "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"
I recall hearing an anecdote concerning a society of pranksters in 1970s London who would take trips en masse to the cinema, only to walk out when or if the title of the movie in question was spoken by a character. That lot would get their money’s worth with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, as it’s not until the closing minutes that a returning original cast member (in a blink and you’ll miss it cameo) informs us that we’re now living in a “Jurassic World.” It’s the sort of cringeworthy moment that would normally cause me to groan, but I was so broken down by the laziness and ineptitude of this fifth installment in the franchise that I couldn’t even muster a sigh by that late point.






Event calendar
Wednesday, Aug 22, 2018


MUSIC

New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera Chorus Auditions @ Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Emerson - 6:30pm

Allah-Las @ Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

CIRCLES AROUND THE SUN @ The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

STASIS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

Victor Wainwright & The Train @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


THEATRE

Saturday Night Fever @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

The Lion In Winter @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 8:00pm

Shakespeare in the Park' Twelfth Night & Macbeth @ Englewood Library, Englewood - 6:30pm







FILM

The Greatest Showman @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

FREE SUMMER MOVIE: COCO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 10:30am and 7:30pm

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