Film Title: Shudder House
Award Designation: Love Unlimited Film Festival & Art Exhibition Award Winner.
Director: Joey Dello Russo
Cast: Matt Ball (Lead Actor), Mavis Martin (Lead Actor), Terry Holland (Supporting), Stephanie Hedges (Supporting)
Category: Student Film
Short Synopsis: On a rural estate in 1951, a boy named Robby trudges through a meaningless childhood. Training on classical piano is his only chore dictated by unloving parents. But when a Southern farmhand named Emma returns to the farm with a guitar in hand, Robby faces his only opportunity to grow and feel beyond his boyish blues.
The facts about famous blues man Robert Johnson remain unknown.
Many still entertain the legend that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the ability to play the guitar. Others maintain that he rode train cars across America and learned to play from fellow drifters. Regardless of the truth, during his two year disappearance from Mississippi, Robert Johnson found his blues.
When it came time to write my thesis film, two memories flooded my mind. In 2007, I traveled to photograph a farm frozen in time; 800 acres of untouched beauty from the early 1950s, tucked away in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. In 2009, at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, I discovered music also preserved in time; hundreds of hours of emotion and skill recorded by the Delta blues musicians.
I wanted to explore a story where these two memories of mine came together.
The main character Robby and I share a lot of similarities. Much like many famous musical artists and filmmakers, in our minds, we romanticize the blues. Constrained by New England upbringings, we both lack an understanding of the realities of the Mississippi Delta and its people. We're intrigued by the South and by its music - but from a distance, through a looking glass. We have nothing in common with Robert Johnson. Rather, we fetishize his lifestyle.
Can the blues be learned or only experienced?
With this film, I hope to answer this question truthfully. Production Notes
The guitar used in the barn scenes is an authentic Gibson L1 from the 1930s.
The car used in the driveway scene is an authentic 1951 Ford Mercury.
Unpredictable New England weather caused schedule changes nearly every hour.
Joey Dello Russo: Associate Producer, Director, Print Shipper, Publicist, Story, Submission Contact, Writer
In May 2010, Joey graduated from NYU's undergraduate Film & Television Production program. Currently he works for Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, OR where in the last 6 months he has shot & edited content for clients such as Nike, Old Spice, Coca-Cola, and Electronic Arts. When he's not on set, he's road tripping in search of new places, stories, and people.
Max Tromba: Producer
A Junior in NYU Tisch, Max Tromba is working on several short film productions inside and outside of his academic pursuits this year. His short film "Echoes" was screened recently at the North American All Youth Film and Education Day festival. He is currently working on his next directorial effort “Visiting Hours," shooting in December. He plans to pursue a career in writing and producing after graduation and his work can be accessed at www.maxtromba.com.
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This website, www.LoveUnlimitedAwardWinners.org, is dedicated to highlighting and announcing the film, art and script award winners of the most recent Love Unlimited Film Festival & Art Exhibition, an annual international event promoting film, arts and scripts. To visit the official website of the Love Unlimited Film Festival and Art Exhibition please visit here: www.LoveAndDiversity.org
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Film: Shudder House
Film Title: Shudder House