ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Hollywood is coming to Elmira! One film producer originally from Horseheads said she hopes her new short film will be the start of a new film scene in the Southern Tier.
Linda Miller is a producer working in Los Angeles, but she grew up in Horseheads and spends her summers in Upstate New York. She is the producer of the upcoming short film “Babbo”, which is slated to be filmed in Elmira later this summer.
The anticipated-10-minute film centers on an elderly Italian immigrant in the 1970s who used to be a proficient bowler. He doesn’t have the skills he once did, but he uses them to thwart a group of thieves trying to steal his son’s television.
The film was written and will be directed by character actor Jeff Austin, who has appeared in numerous films and TV series. These include, L.A. Confidential, Armageddon, Grace and Frankie, NCIS: Los Angeles, and more.
Austin and Miller are working with Community Arts of Elmira on the production and will be using the building as a rehearsal space. Meanwhile, Miller said they are still scouting for a bowling alley and trailer park to film after she found out Rossi Lanes was closed.
“The Elmira and Horseheads area, Chemung County area offer so many beautiful locations,” Miller said, especially praising the “phenomenal” architecture. She’s been producing for 30 years, and has countless connections in the industry; her husband is a Director of Photography for Law & Order: SVU.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Miller said, “but I’m at that stage in my career where I also want to give back.”
Miller said she hopes she can bring a feature-length film to the area and eventually establish a consistent film scene that wouldn’t rely on bringing crews and equipment from nearby larger cities like Rochester. She added that Elmira is due for an infusion of recognition and cash that a film crew can bring.
“I just feel like we would get great support from the community,” Miller said. “And it would offer so much support to the community in terms of jobs. Also when a film company comes to town, we spend money. We have to eat; we buy lumber; we buy paint; we support local businesses.”
Miller said she’s looking for crew members, as well, before the film starts shooting the weekend before Labor Day. The film will likely enter the festival circuit next year, Miller said. Anyone interested in joining the cast and crew can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The casting call and character descriptions for the project are below:
- CESARE (Pronounced See-zer) Late 70s: An Italian immigrant who hasn’t spent much time learning English. Because of a serious car accident, which causes recurring nightmares, he walks with a cane and has limited use of his left arm. He’s frustrated how his handicap has crushed any possibility of continuing to be the semi-pro bowler he once was. He takes out his deep-seated resentment on everyone around him, all the while still struggling to bowl. Actor must be able to lift and underarm swing a twelve-pound bowling ball.
- MARIA – Late 70s: She is Cesare’s wife and an Italian Immigrant as well. She speaks even less English than Cesare. She is the embodiment of the Italian housewife and is constantly waiting on Cesare. She tolerates Cesare’s disrespect and anger in the hope that someday he will surrender to his limitations. She truly loves him unconditionally.
- ALAN – Early to mid 40s: Alan is the son of Cesare and Maria and makes his living fixing appliances. He was born in the USA so has no Italian accent and speaks perfect English. He bought a trailer in the same trailer park as his parents in order to help his mom take care of Cesare after the accident. Alan doesn’t mind that he’s always been single, because his decision to help make his dad as comfortable as possible has become his priority.
- EDUARDO – Mid 20s – All ethnicities: He is an employee at the bowling alley Cesare frequents. He seems to genuinely like Alan and Cesare, and goes above and beyond the call of duty to make their bowling experience special. By appearance there’s no reason to think he has another agenda.
- FRIEND – Mid 20s – All ethnicities: A friend of Eduardo’s and a bowling alley employee as well. He’s simply eager to do Eduardo’s bidding