Free screening of new Dullea film Monday
Published 5:07 pm, Thursday, August 2, 2012
The cast and crew of the independent film "Isn't It Delicious?" gathered at the Fairfield Theatre Company last summer for a public reading of the screenplay just before they began shooting on locations around the area.
Now, the project is coming full circle with the first public screening of the movie -- starring former Westport resident Keir Dullea, Kathleen Chalfant and Mia Dillon -- set for the FTC on Monday, Aug. 6.
"We really want to pay back the FTC and the community for the help," the film's director, Michael Patrick Kelly, said in a phone interview last week. "It is almost one year to the date of the reading. ... We thought it would be interesting for those who were there to see it go from the script to the screen."
"Isn't It Delicious?" was shot in Fairfield, Trumbull, Redding, Milford and Bridgeport.
Kelly said it wouldn't have been possible to make the movie on an "ultra low budget" of around $200,000 without the help of so many merchants and townspeople who did not ask for the fees that can quickly escalate on a big-budget movie.
More Information'Isn't It Delicious' Fairfield Theatre Company, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield. Monday, Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m. Free. 203-259-1036. www.fairfieldtheatre.org.
The drama with strong comedic undertones follows the matriarch (Chalfant) of a Connecticut family after she finds out she won't be living much longer. She becomes determined to try to get her dysfunctional family back on track before she's gone.
"We were thinking of calling it the funniest film you've ever seen about cancer, but that (line) was already taken by `Fifty Fifty,' " Kelly said, laughing, of last year's comedy-drama starring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt.
"It's about a woman whose mission is to leave her (grown) kids with a better attitude about life. Get them on the right road instead of spiraling downward," he said.
Kelly believes the film will strike a deep chord with moviegoers 45 and older who are coping with ailing parents and intimations of their own mortality.
"We hope this will be the kind of film that will appeal to the older moviegoers who have been supporting `The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,' " the filmmaker said of this summer's sleeper hit co-starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
"Isn't It Delicious?" might have cost only a fraction of what the average Hollywood film is budgeted at these days, but Kelly said his cast -- which also includes the Tony-winning actress Alice Ripley -- is second to none.
"A lot of films shot at this budget are set in only one or two locations, but because so many people were so generous we had a lot of locations," he said, among them being White's Diner in Bridgeport.
Kelly believes not having the money for elaborate technical effects and far-flung locations have made the story and the characters in "Isn't It Delicious?" the most important elements.
Being on real locations with a small crew made the actors feel more connected to what they were playing.
"Keir told me this was the most fun he had making a film since the 1970s because of the family atmosphere," Kelly said, adding that the quality of the screenplay was such that the cast members were willing to work for the Screen Actors Guild ultra-low-budget minimum of $100 a day, plus meals and transportation.
There was an off-Broadway type spirit to the endeavor, the director said, that no doubt was familiar to a company of New York stage veterans who have often worked in small venues for little pay due to the high quality of a new play.
"They all felt that the script was that good," Kelly said of the ease with which he assembled his cast after Chalfant agreed to play the central role.
"Isn't It Delicious?" doesn't have a distributor yet, but the director hopes to hit the festival circuit with the film this fall.
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