2017 Q&A - Brooklyn in July
We asked Director Bob Celli to tell us about his film. Here's what he had to say...
Tell us in 140 characters the synopsis of your film.
Brooklyn In July - Frank Walker is a Black WWII veteran, scarred by a past that is lurking skin deep. With a new job as a chauffeur, Franke struggles with the racist sentiments of 1940s America.
Where did the idea/script come from?
Our inspiration for this film was the song, Brooklyn In July, by Joe Crookston. In the past few years incidents of racial bias have begun to get the media attention that is long overdue. It has always been our belief that people are taught how to be hateful. It is this learned behavior that we hope to portray with this film.
Social justice and equality for all people have always been important to us and the song was a perfect starting point for a short film about these subjects.
Why did this film appeal to you? Now more than ever, we feel it is important that we as artists continue to make films that dig into the issues many would like to ignore. We feel it is imperative to relate the histories, stories, and legacies that continue to influence current events.
As we delved into the history of the era to create Frank's backstory, the script became more intensely dark. We were confronted with our own naivete, of thinking that blatant
discrimination was predominately the stain of the southern United States. Sadly, it was everywhere and still persists to this day both in the way adults model behavior for children and through longstanding governmental and institutional policies of our country. We all need to stay conscious and aware of this ingrained and regrettably long history of racism in order to change things for the better. Often a film, a painting, a piece of music, or a play can open people’s minds in a way a debate or news clips cannot. What part of the production process was the most rewarding? The actual production end of any film, for me, is always the most fun and exciting. I find immeasurable joy in assembling talented artists, collaborating, and problem solving to bring a story from page to screen. What was the most challenging part of the production? The challenge of doing a period piece is always a difficult one on very lean budgets, but attempting to do a period piece in NYC added to that. Finding locations that you could shoot in more then one direction was problematic. Also, due to what was required of the pivotal dinner location, we needed to fabricate the entire storefront. What does the future hold for the film? We festival premiered on June 17th of this year, so we have a ways to go before we end our run. Our hope to have as many people see the film as possible. We would love to entice a co-producer to help us make the full length feature of Brooklyn In July. We also see this potentially being screened at schools. By knowing our history perhaps we can make better choices in the present by taking action and/or reacting in a way that promotes equality for all. In the mean time, we are working on the feature length scripts of this short film and our last short film. We also have two short film ideas in development.
Brooklyn in July - Plays November 11 @ 3pm, Centre Theatre