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James Rees and Jay Thomas’s excellent short For Hope premieres at the New Jersey Film Festival on Sunday, January 26, 2020!


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 01/22/2020

James Rees and Jay Thomas’s excellent short For Hope premieres at the New Jersey Film Festival on Sunday, January 26, 2020!

Here is my interview with For Hope Producer, Writer and Actor Jay Thomas:

Nigrin:  Your excellent short film For Hope focuses on a young disabled girl who lives in a world of structured harmony that is kept afloat by her older brother.  Please tell us what made you decide to make this film?

Thomas: In 2012 a good friend passed away from an opioid overdose. His death made me realize how one action can paint a specific color for a person's life when in reality their life is a spectrum of colors. I wanted to tell a story of sacrifice. Every action we make in our lives, either good or bad, is the result of how we love ourselves and love the people around us. We make bad decisions for ourselves, yet we make selfless acts for those we love. We are full of contradictions.

Nigrin:  Sissy Sheridan does a terrific job playing Hope. Tell us more about her and how you got her to act in your film.

ThomasSissy is a wonderful actor, who was submitted by her mother for the role of Hope. We had a Skype interview with her, and her mother, and knew right away she was the perfect fit. Sissy's mother was originally from Kentucky and went to school at University of Kentucky, which is located in the same place we planned to film. All of these little coincidences made it feel like the role was always meant to be played by Sissy.



 
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Nigrin:  You also do a great job playing Hope’s brother. Were you always intended to play this role?

ThomasYes, I always intended to play the role. It was a very personal role for me and I wanted to make sure it was a journey that I got to take.

Nigrin:  The original soundtrack is just amazing. Tell us more about the composer and how you got him to do the soundtrack for this film?

ThomasThe original composer is Robert Gowan, who owns his own sound production company "Other Southern." He is also a phenomenal musician, as evidence by the soundtrack, in which all instruments are played by Robert. More info about Robert can be found at https://othersouthern.com/

Nigrin:  Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you would like to relay to our readers?

ThomasI really want people to know that making a film, especially one so close to your heart, is an experience everyone should have. Getting a group of people together to tell a beautiful story is so intrinsically human that I want everyone to feel the power it has. I say get out and make a movie, your soul will feel alive if you do.

James Rees and Jay Thomas’s excellent short For Hope premieres at the New Jersey Film Festival on Sunday, January 26, 2020!

For Hope will precede Tre Manchester’s feature film Bleed American. Here is more information on this screening:

For Hope – James Rees and Jay Thomas (New York, New York)  Featuring amazing cinematography, stellar acting, and a gorgeous original soundtrack, this moving short film is set in the underbelly of Kentucky.  A young disabled girl lives in a world of structured harmony that is kept afloat by her older brother, but at what cost? 2019; 20 min. . Q+A Session with Director James Rees and Producer, Writer, Actor  Jay Thomas!

Bleed American – Tre Manchester (Hammond, Indiana)  When his mother’s alcohol abuse returns her to the hospital, Larson becomes the parental figure to his young brother L.J. and his sister Lex. He soon finds himself deeply conflicted about his responsibility as their parental figure, particularly after L.J. slips under the influence of a local hoodlum. Bleed American is a stunning and timely portrait of the unravelling fabric in today’s Middle America. 2019; 75 min.

Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University American Studies Department and the Rutgers University Office of Disability Services!



 
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Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 7:00 PM
 in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey



$14= Advance; $12=General; $10=Students+Seniors

Information: (848) 932-8482; www.njfilmfest.com

 

 



Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

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