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It's A 'Wonderful Life' In Greenwich: New Film Explores Old Area Estate

Greenwich resident Norma Asnes is the subject of the short documentary, "A Wonderful Place."
Greenwich resident Norma Asnes is the subject of the short documentary, "A Wonderful Place." Photo Credit: Submitted
Sam Ketay films "A Wonderful Place," part of the new Connecticut Shorts program showing at The Greenwich International Film Festival.
Sam Ketay films "A Wonderful Place," part of the new Connecticut Shorts program showing at The Greenwich International Film Festival. Photo Credit: Submitted

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Everyone has that favorite aunt or that favorite childhood home where memories were forged. For Sam Ketay, who grew up in White Plains and Armonk, N.Y.,  his aunt's estate in Greenwich where everyone would gather for family dinners, holidays, weddings and swim parties, fit both those bills.

And so, when the filmmaker was thinking about the kind of documentary he wanted to make, it all came down to 80-year-old Norma Asnes.

The nine-minute short entitled "A Wonderful Place," will be previewed at The Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) . The film -- his second so far as owner of Nice Bike Films --  follows the homeowner via a John Deere electric cart as she discusses nature, her property, and family.

"I moved around a lot as a kid and my aunt's house was one of the happy constants in my life," said Ketay. "She's sort of the matriarch of the family."

That said, being related is one thing. Filming that relative is another.

"I wasn't sure how she'd be on camera or where the film would really go," he said. "The plan was to interview relatives, staff, etc, about the house, about parties, stories, and so on, but then it became obvious that Norma should be the one and only character with the house and property as the backdrop.

"She's just an amazing person: very down to earth, interesting, engaging, and smart," he added.

"I was pleasantly surprised --and relieved -- at how natural she was on camera and how articulate and witty she was with her statements and responses."

Asnes has owned her home since 1972.

"A Wonderful Place" shows at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 3 at Bow Tie Cinemas and at 7:45 p.m. Sunday, June 4 at Cole Auditorium (in Greenwich) as part of the newly introduced Connecticut Short program . Go HERE for details.

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