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Laina Barakat’s touching film Glowworm will be premiering at the New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 3!


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 05/30/2017

Laina Barakat’s touching film Glowworm will be premiering at the New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 3!

Laina Barakat’s touching film Glowworm will be premiering at the New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 3!

Here is my interview with Glowworm Director Laina Barakat:

Nigrin: Your lovely short film Glowworm is about a young woman who decides to leave her life in the city, in order to shut down her late grandfather’s remote New England farm Please tell us more about your film and why you decided to make it.

Barakat: This film was conceived in sort of a reverse order. It began with a practical consideration and a list of possibilities, and then the creative took over. I wanted to create a film featuring my sister Emma, I had long wanted to work with actor Pedro and knew they would work well together on screen, and had a large piece of land with several fixtures to work with at my disposal in New Hampshire thanks to a good friend. I have always been drawn to films set in the snow and winter as a character, and being able to work on one property that had multiple indoor options made production in the freezing winter a real possibility on a micro-budget. So I started with the practical: a girl in her 20s, a latin actor in his 20s, winter, and the beautiful landscape of New England farmlands. And the story came from there. 

Nigrin: Is that your sister Emma playing the lead in the film? Tell us more about her and why she was chosen.  Will she be coming to introduce the film?



 
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Barakat:  Yes, that is Emma, one of my four sisters. She is essentially where the entire project started. She was finding a tough time getting from call-back to casting while at school for theatre at Drew University. She was told often that her performances were not "big enough" for the stage, so I thought perhaps she would be better suited for the camera. From there, I added Pedro, found the location, decided to make my directorial debut and so forth. She will be graduating from Drew on Mother's Day and then begins a Master's program there six days later, but she will be at the screening to introduce and discuss the film!

Nigrin:  The actor who plays Pedro, the grandfather's farmhand, is also really wonderful. Tell us more about him.

Barakat: Pedro is fantastic. He is an incredibly talented and dedicated actor. I met him several years back when he was studying at Atlantic Acting School in NYC. He was/is dating a fantastic actress by the name of Emily Seymour who starred in my first feature film as a Producer. She introduced me to him and I always had him on the back burner of actors I would like to work with. When I decided to make this film for my sister, Pedro was my first thought for an addition because I knew I could count on a solid performance, an eager spirit, and a great attitude while working in very cold and difficult conditions. 

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

Barakat: Goodness, when you work with a crew of ten people in the snow for four days you gain a whole mess of stories, mostly ones my crew kept secret. But I'll tell you about shooting the night scenes in the dark. There is a scene where Emma sits in the snow for quite a bit in the dead of night. We had all of these provisions prepared to keep her warm and get through the shot. I had emergency blankets I was going to burry under the snow where she would be kneeling and hot drinks, hand and foot warmers we were going to give the entire crew and strap onto Emma's legs. We went out for a test shoot, just to look at the set dressing and lighting so we put Emma in place to test. Meanwhile, my Cinematographer was in sneakers, not boots, none of our provisions where in place, Emma was not prepared, but with the lighting we realized we should just go for it and start shooting. Poor Emma was kneeling/ sitting in the snow in wet jeans for over an hour. We were frantically trying to activate toe warmers and hand them out but by then, Chuck's (cinematographer) shoes were soaking wet. It was freezing and windy. But we made it through and laughed about it later. Poor Emma's legs were bright red when she peeled her pants off, but she was a trooper. We also had a lot of technical difficulties at the very end. We had picture lock but then ran into problem after problem. When we got our acceptance letter from Cinequest, and their request that we deliver the DCP of the film within 18 days, the edit was not even complete yet. We had to bring on some tireless friends who helped solve the technical problems and turn it around with days so we could get it to the DCP company to get that created.

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Glowworm will be preceded by 5 wonderful short films by New Jersey Filmmakers. Here is more info on this screening:



 
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 Princess Bride: A Watchman’s Tale – Jeremiah Kaufman (Ramsey, New Jersey)  In this music video, a prince finds himself on a medieval quest to rescue a princess bride and her beautiful maidens, who are being held captive on a mountaintop. 2017; 6 min. Special Guest Appearance by Writer Norman Kauman!

Tramcar Girl – Alex Tymchak, Dan Lewinstein, and Gerard Zarra (East Hanover, New Jersey) In this charming story of summer love set on the Jersey shore, a “tramcar girl” spots a man buried up to his neck in sand on the beach.  The next day, as she drives her tramcar on the Wildwood Boardwalk, she spots him again. Will the sparks fly or not?  2017; 9 min. Special Guest Appearance by Directors Alex Tymchak, Dan Lewinstein, and Gerard Zarra!

Don’t Think About It – Niv Klainer (New York, New York) Ron and Casey are expecting a child, but things get out of hand when they both try to protect each other from an inevitable break-up. 2016; 12 min. Special Guest Appearance by Director Niv Klainer!

Church – Stephen Bodossian (Franklin, New Jersey) In this black comedy about the perils of trying to please prospective in-laws, Alan, a Jewish germaphobe, pretends to be Catholic, in order to appease his girlfriend's parents. 2016; 13 min. 

Helping Hands – Justin Guerrieri (Middletown, New Jersey) Hired as a production assistant, a young man slowly but surely realizes that making movies isn't always as magical as it seems. 2016; 16 min. Special Guest Appearance by Director Justin Guerrieri!

Glowworm – Laina Barakat (Marlborough, New Hampshire) When Emma decides to leave her life in the city, in order to shut down her late grandfather’s remote New England farm, she is inclined to sell everything. Upon arriving, she meets Pedro, her late grandfather's farmhand, who is determined to change her mind and help her say goodbye to the man she barely knew. 2017; 25 min. Special Guest Appearance by Actress Emma Barakat!

Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 5:00 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 will be providing free food prior to all New Jersey 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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