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Neo-noir thriller City of Love screens on opening weekend of the Spring 2023 New Jersey Film Festival!

By Al Nigrin

originally published: 01/23/2023

Neo-noir thriller City of Love screens on opening weekend of the Spring 2023 New Jersey Film Festival!

The terrific feature film City of Love, directed by Eric Boadella, features 148 Rides, 1 City, 1 Date, 2 Deaths and 1 Miracle. In this neo-noir feature, Spencer, a troubled rideshare driver in Los Angeles, will go to dangerous lengths to reconnect with the world he lost after spending 20 years in jail.

Here is my interview with Eric Boadella:

Nigrin: Your terrific neo-noir feature film City of Love is about Spencer, a troubled rideshare driver in Los Angeles who will go to dangerous lengths to reconnect with the world after spending 20 years in jail. Tell us what motivated you to make this film.

Boadella: I always had in mind to make a movie about an "anti hero type of character" becoming a rideshare driver, but the motivation didn't come until I teamed up with co-writer Sara Pattarini; she introduced me to actor Robert DeCesare and the three of us conceptualized the story together. We wanted to make a movie about a character that has been disconnected from society and decides to become a rideshare driver to reconnect with the city he once was part of. The redemption of the anti hero. 

Nigrin: Your two lead actors Robert DeCesare who plays Spencer and Kathryn Scott who plays Molly are really wonderful. Tell us more about them and how they came to be in your film.

Boadella: Robert was part of the project from the beginning; before starting to work on the script. And that helped us a lot to find the right Molly.  We auditioned a lot of actresses and then we called back ten candidates to play a scene with Robert, they were all great actors but Kathryn Scott got it perfect, she took the character of Molly to another level and now I watch the movie and I wish it had more scenes with her. 

Nigrin: The look and cinematography of your film are really amazing and set the tone for the film. Tell us more about this, the DP, and why you decided to make it look this way.

Boadella: Thank you. I had a dark but colorful tone in mind but I knew the look of the film will be defined by how we shoot the car scenes and that is the first conversation I had with the DP, Romas Usakovas. We teamed up with producer Ace Underhill to be able shoot the car scenes in his studio, using the led wall technique; and that allowed us to minimize the real driving scenes and be able to create the look we were looking for. 

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Nigrin: Your film has obvious connections to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, but Spencer is quite different from Travis. He almost seems like a Christ-figure where he wants to sacrifice himself for others. Do you see the same thing?

Boadella: Yes, Spencer is very different from Travis. There was a religious element in the script since the beginning but it was Robert, while creating Spencer, who made him like a Christ-figure. And I liked the idea. We have a guy who spent 20 years locked up for a crime "he had to do '' when he was too young, and we wondered how he managed to move on? And then he is free but the world he knew, his family, his friends, his city, are gone or totally different, except one thing; religion. 

City of Love screens at the Spring 2023 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, January 28. The film will be Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 7PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ.  To buy tickets go here

For General Info on the Film Festival go here:


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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