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Jeff Barry and Gene Gallerano’s terrific feature film Occupy, Texas has its East Coast Premiere at the 2016 New jersey International Film Festival on Opening Night Saturday, June 4!


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 05/19/2016

Jeff Barry and Gene Gallerano’s terrific feature film Occupy, Texas has its East Coast Premiere at the 2016  New jersey International Film Festival on Opening Night Saturday, June 4!

Jeff Barry and Gene Gallerano’s terrific feature film Occupy, Texas has its East Coast Premiere at the 2016  New jersey International Film Festival on Opening Night Saturday, June 4!

Here is an interview I did with Occupy, Texas Director Jeff Barry and Writer/Lead Actor Gene Gallerano:

Nigrin:  Your timely feature film Occupy, Texas is about a disillusioned Occupy New York protester who goes back to his upper middle-class home in Texas, where he must repair his rift with his two teenage sisters, and with his past. Please tell us what motivated you to make this film?

Gallerano/Barry: In New York the Occupy Wall Street movement was a definitive moment in time. It stopped the city. It consumed the media. It was a mass of people and energy that galvanized some and divided others. And then one day it was gone. The city moved in and pushed the Occupiers out. As filmmakers, we don't have a dog in that fight, but we were interested in what happened to all those people? Where did they go? What did they go back to?  This film is not autobiographical, but instead it's a "what if". What if this happened to one of those Occupiers.



 
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Beyond that, we liked the history and circumstances that the Occupy Wall Street movement gave to our lead character, Beau Baker, as he's brought back to Texas. Ultimately we wanted to tell a story that explored relationships and the idea of how people grieve. Throwing Beau, this disillusioned Occupier, into that world, was a situation that was ripe for exploration.

Nigrin:  Gene Gallerano who plays the lead actor is a revelation. You  sympathize with him and his plight right from the start and are cheering him on by the end of the film. Tell us more about how this character came to be and the challenges you had bringing one of your characters to life.

Barry: There was a moment in putting the film together where we had a number of conversations with our casting director about if we were to offer Beau Baker out to an actor, who could we get? We were very excited about the character of Beau on the page and we felt it was a role that someone would want to sink their teeth into and potentially, in turn, help elevate the status of the film. As "name cast" grows more important every day, this is something that all filmmakers will deal with as some point. Ultimately, even though we discussed some very good actors, we didn't feel that there was anyone out there who could bring what Gene would bring to the role. And we were right about that. It shows in the film and in his performance.

When you have an actor that has written the story they are playing in, they have years of living in that world, in that role. As a result there's so much opportunity for depth and texture in the performance, which Gene certainly has in the film. Gene knew the story and the character like no one else could have. And then, once were on set and shooting, he just had to let all that go, trusting that it's there, and look his partner in the eye and tell the truth.

Nigrin:  Tell us more about the other terrific lead actors in your film.

Gallerano/Barry: We have 12 year old Catherine 'Cappy' Elvir who came to audition through a blind submission and just stunned us the entire way. She is an 'unknown' but deserves to be on the radar of everyone! Lorelei Linklater is following up her role in father, Richard Linklater's film, 'Boyhood,' playing Claire. We have Reed Birney from House of Cards, Peri Gilpin of Frasier, Janine Turner of Northern Exposure and David Matranga and Nikki Moore.

Nigrin:  Where did you shoot this film?



 
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Gallerano/Barry: We shot the opening scene for one day in Zuccotti Park and then shot for 20 days in Dallas, Texas.

Nigrin:  How long did it take you to make Occupy, Texas and were there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you can rely to our readers?

Gallerano/Barry: We are somewhere in year four from conception, development, and then production to our current festival run. Hopefully, it will have many many more years ahead of it!

I would say the discovery of Catherine Elvir was pretty momentous for our production - seeing as the Brother/Little Sister dynamic needed to carry the film. Also, Reed Birney being nominated for his FIRST Tony award on set the day we shot in Zuccotti Park was pretty memorable!

 

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Three terrific shorts will be screened before Occupy, Texas. Here is more info on this screening:

Mother’s Day – Jeff Tan (Long Island City, New York) Tragedy forces a mother and son to say goodbye. Starring Academy Award Winner Melissa Leo. 2016; 7 min.With an introduction and Q+A session with Director Jeff Tan and Lead Actor Gabriel Furman!

Jef Needs Ice Cream Dave Conte  (Astoria, New York)  A comedic short about a guy named Jef who goes to his friend's apartment to smoke some left-over weed, only to realize that Brad didn't leave any ice cream behind in his fridge. 2015; 11 min. With an introduction and Q+A session with Director Dave Conte! 



 
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D.L. Fitzsimmons presents: The Class Acts Nicholas Stonehouse (Sewell, New Jersey) The members of a vaudeville troupe decide to rebuild their show and give the limelight one last shot. 2015; 18 min. With an introduction and Q+A session with Director Nicholas Stonehouse!

Occupy, Texas Jeff Barry (New York, New York)  A timely feature film about life after a failed ‘revolution’:  having spent 7 years in New York City, fighting against Wall Street greed, a disillusioned protester goes back to his upper middle-class home in Texas, where he must repair his rift with his two teenage sisters, and with his past. 2015; 93 min.  With an introduction and Q+A session with Director Jeff Barry and Lead Actor Gene Gallerano!

Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.


Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University


71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey


$12=General; $10=Students+Seniors; $9=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends


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

Jimmy John’s of New Brunswick and Capitol Corn & Confections will be providing free food prior to all New Jersey International Film Festival  Screenings!




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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