Palisadian Post Features THE CALL
Excitement is building as we get closer with THE CALL!
We have gotten more great pros to pitch in their time with the post-production process, including editing, music, sound and color correction, all toward making THE CALL the best film and story possible.
We would like to ask for your help again in spreading the word about THE CALL, and now especially for donations which allow us to produce and distribute the film. Any amount you can afford is appreciated! Donations are tax deductible. Our Rewards Package and all the important info is summarized here: http://bit.ly/y4CB9p
Join us and you too will be on THE CALL! Thank you!
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Palisadians Stephen Messer (back left) and Peter Smokler set the scene for young stars Jonathan Morgan Heit and Ryan Newman for the filming of “The Call” on Will Rogers State Beach in November.
Stephen Messer Directs a Short, Subtle Anti-Smoking Film Here
By Sue Pascoe, Staff Writer
Chicago-based screenwriter Felice Bassuk, seeking a producer/director for her short film ‘The Call,’ found Palisadian Stephen Messer through the Internet.
Messer, a 25-year member of the Directors Guild of America, read the script and agreed to direct’providing he could also rework the film to be used as an anti-smoking public-service announcement. ‘The Call’ will run about eight minutes and PSA’s are usually a minute or less.
‘The way the film is structured, it doesn’t say ‘don’t smoke,’ said Messer, who doesn’t believe that a graphic message is the most effective way of teaching a lesson. ‘In this film, it’s more subtle. Kids will ask ‘Why did that have to happen?’ and then come to their own conclusions.’
‘I really liked Stephen’s angle,’ Bassuk said. ‘I have a friend who now speaks through a voice phone, and everyone knows of someone who had died of lung cancer. We discussed this, and I sensed Stephen’s commitment to making this something more than just another beautiful film to submit to festivals. I realized what a gem I had found.’
Once Messer and Bassuk agreed on the focus, they were faced with raising $50,000 to complete the project. Since there were plans to turn the finished project into a PSA and create an educational component that he could take into the classroom, Messer created a nonprofit to seek donations.
Bassuk developed an overall plan for ‘The Call’ with pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and a blog. She also held a fundraiser in Chicago, and received donations from more than 40 local businesses and individuals.
Television stars Ryan Newman and Jonathan Morgan Heit star in the film, with Palisadians Ailey Marler and Asher Moore playing their characters in a flashback scene. Menahem Zilberman, a renowned Israeli actor, plays the grandfather and English actress Caroline Langford is his nurse.
Messer hired two other Palisadians: Peter Smokler as director of photography and Jett Gelber as production coordinator. (Smokler’s resume includes the film ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ and television shows such as ‘The Larry Sanders Show,’ ‘The Office’ and ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.’)
After 15 months of collaborating by phone and over the Internet, Messer and Bassuk finally met in person last November 3. Two days later the film was shot on Will Rogers State Beach.
From the beginning, Messer wanted shots at Will Rogers that would require a crane. ‘Due to budgeting practicalities, we had to forego that dream,’ said Bassuk, until ‘another Palisadian connection and friend of Messer’s, Devin Atwood, offered the use of his 24-foot Techno-jib.’
Messer is grateful to Lenny’s Deli and Cafe Vida for donating food, and to Smokler’s son, Greg, who worked as a camera assistant.
‘Captain Robert Torres and the other lifeguards were great,’ said Messer, who also thanked Gene Duggan at Alternative Rentals for letting him use a $100,000 camera, charging only for the cleaning fee.
The film is now in postproduction and Messer and Bassuk will decide what film festivals to enter, according to what their budget will allow. ‘Every festival requires an application fee,’ Messer said. ‘We are entirely dependent on donations for the entire project, well beyond the production of the film itself.’
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