By Arielle Dollinger
A brown-eyed man with salt-and-pepper hair hidden by a black baseball cap and distinctive eyebrows of wiry black strands is in command of the area. Those waiting beneath the trees are there for him.
Director Dan Stone, a Centerport native, called cast members and extras to Greenlawn Park on Wednesday for the shooting of a project called “Good Friday” – a feature-length film that will tell the story of an estranged father and son who make their way back to each other.
“I used to coach on this field 20 years ago; I used to play on this field 40 years ago,” Stone said of Wednesday’s shooting location.
Stone and his cast and crew have shot scenes at several Town of Huntington locales, including the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium in Centerport, Northport Mayor George Doll’s house and Makinajian Poultry Farm.
“Literally half the calories I eat come from that one place,” Stone said of Makinajian.
He wrote the film with the locations in mind, he said, having grown up in the area. But the story itself is unrelated to geography.
“It’s basically a faith-based, family-oriented movie,” said producer and editor Dan Loewenthal.
Loewenthal, who was a feature film editor with a company of his own for “many years,” currently teaches film classes at Hofstra University and Montclair State University in New Jersey. Some of those working on the film are his former students.
“It’s kind of a local effort,” Loewenthal said of the film, which is being done on what he said was “a relatively low budget.”
The film will travel what Loewenthal said is a sort of “traditional indie route,” with a focus on faith-based markets.
The production schedule is a fast-paced one: Loewenthal began working with Stone at the end of April, went into active pre-production in June and shot in Queens earlier this month before coming to Huntington.
“We’re trying to shoot the whole movie in 15 days,” said Stone.
A typical shoot, Stone said, would work with about 4 pages a day. On his set, the goal is about 7 – an equation that, ideally, would allow completion of the 100-page script in 15 days.
The cast includes 10-year-old Colin Critchley, of New Jersey, who has played roles in Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” and “Waiting For Godot” – a play he did with “Pat” and “Ian,” known to most as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.
While shooting at Greenlawn Park, Stone called for extras from the community. The dress code was simple: attire one would wear while running or playing in the park.
East End resident Violetta Anna Licari and Ronkonkoma resident Teresa Purifocato went to the shoot for the opportunity to network and meet people.
“There’s been nice conversations,” said Licari, a working actress. “And the variety of experience [ranges].”
Some went to the park just out of curiosity.
“I thought it was interesting,” said Paola Glassmann, who brought her four- and six-year-old sons. “[The kids] don’t really know about [the filming]… It’s just a little bit interesting for them, but their attention span is not that good.”
According to Loewenthal, editing will begin after Labor Day and will take about two months. Following will come the music and audio post-production, and then marketing.