DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien’s Will Sullivan searched to find the right place to debut his first film. He found it a short drive down Interstate 95 at next month’s Greenwich Film Festival.
Sullivan’s film, “Jane Wants A Boyfriend,” will premiere on Saturday, June 6, at 8:15 p.m. It will also be shown on Sunday, June 7, at 1 p.m. at the event.
The film is a romantic comedy about a young woman, Jane, looking for love in New York City. Despite dealing with the everyday challenges of being on the autism spectrum, Jane looks to her older sister, Bianca, to help find her first boyfriend. Jane is played by Louisa Krause, and Eliza Dushku plays Bianca.
“We’re really excited to be opening in Greenwich,’’ said Sullivan, a 2010 graduate of New York University. He also graduated from King in Stamford in 2006. "We think it's the perfect place to debut."
The Greenwich Film Festival is a first-time event. The festival, located in downtown Greenwich, features film screenings, premieres, events and parties showcasing filmmakers, panel discussions, and an award ceremony.The festival focuses on socially conscious films and documentaries, acting in partnership with nonprofits.
The festival is partnering with UNICEF for its Oneminutes Jr. film campaign, which gives marginalized children an opportunity to express themselves through film,. The organization will receive the festival’s proceeds.
“We went to an event they were having in New York and talked about having our debut there,’’ Sullivan said. “It’s the perfect thing. They really care about art.”
Sullivan started working on the film two years ago . He said when he started the film that it was based in part on real-life events that occurred while he attended NYU. The script is a collaborative effort with Jarret Kerr.
“This was a gamble,’’ Sullivan said. “It’s a romantic comedy about autism. There’s a million reasons why it shouldn’t work from script to screen and being respectful to the autism community. We had an autism consultant who worked with the lead actress so that we could take risks. Our plan was let’s try everything.”
Sullivan said filming the movie went smoothly. The editing process, however, was lengthy. “We crafted the performance in the editing room,’’ Sullivan said. “We took our time. We could push the character in any direction based on the takes that we got. It worked out that it’s exactly what we envisioned when we started working on the script.”
Sullivan turned to Darien’s Stephanie Holbrook, a veteran casting director with a wealth of experience, to find the key characters for the move. Holbrook delivered Krause and Dushku, two young actresses who have significant experience in television, film and stage.
“Filmmaking is so much about the chemistry of the people you bring on,’’ Sullivan said. “Ultimately I had a female producer (Lauren Brady) and executive producer (Anne Dempsey). Since we were telling the story of two sisters, I thought it was important that we had a large amount of women on the crew. I’m proud of that. It made for a great environment.”
For his second feature, Sullivan could not be more thrilled. After Greenwich, Sullivan is hoping to work with an entertainment company to have the film distributed to several theaters and on Itunes.
Clearly, the young filmmaker has found his career path. Films are hard and costly to make, but Sullivan has found his passion and plans to pursue it for the long term.
“It was a great experience,’’ he said. “We were a little army that came together. I’m excited to let everybody see it.”
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