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2011 Raindance Trailer!


The 2011 RAINDANCE Trailer starring:

Sean T. Hanratty, Eleonore Hendricks, Grace Giardenia, Harry Siegel, Josephine Wheelwright, Michael Budinger, Benjamin Gooch, and Adam Chimera!

The idea for Censored was originally a snarky jest directed at the censorship of past Raindance Trailers. As I looked up other trailers from Raindance to gauge the standard I noticed that there were two trailers labeled “Banned”. So I wrote something that wouldn’t necessarily have any objectionable content but could still play on the absurdity of censorship in general, especially now, during the rise of viral media campaigns.

I had just come off the film L.U.V, in Baltimore as the Production Designer, and as soon as I got back to NYC I had to hit the ground running to meet the deadline for Raindance. The generous stipend that the national film fund gave me to produce this piece was, of course, just an excuse to get ambitious and attempt something well out my monetary allowance.

The original concept would have been a 5 minute short film and cost about ten to fifteen grand to make it happen. Nobody likes to slice a script down but I managed to do it because, well… who knows when I would next get the funds to make something. I looked at this as my first commissioned directing piece. So I chopped it down to a minute and a half.

What could be more fun than to make a bunch of iconic, cinema heroes run away through a 70’s inspired urban landscape from the movie police?
The answer was that nothing would be more fun to make then that!

The villains, I felt, clearly needed a glowing lens eye that, of course, is the missing piece to the projector that the heroes need to play the censored films. Ha ha! I am fond of being clever.

I had done a lot of the work for the concept months before I was able to produce it, which was helpful during the pre-production phase. I had been thinking about it for a long time.  I first had the thought while listening to a song by local NYC music man, Sean T Hanratty called ‘High Water Blues’.  To conceive the rest of it I just listened to the song again and again while I was writing it.

First thing to do was to tap the modern telegraph (i.e. post on Facebook, twitter, etc,) and send the word out that I was making something, I needed help, for free, but it would all be worth while because we would all get to play with car mount gear, stunts, car chases, and special effects make-up. I do try to make things interesting for everyone at least.

My producers Evan Meszaros and Nick Esposito put the word out that I needed help too. Evan introduced me to Ruby Muro, who was able to manifest, for me, a perfect cinema Villain for the trailer with only two references and a phone call. The references for the Villains were: Dick Tracy’s No Face (from the original comic, not the movie) and the Cyclops dream stealers from ‘City of Lost Children.’

Once the SFX artist was hooked, I had to trap a DoP into shooting this thing. The fella that shot ‘I am a Fat Cat’ (the short film that won me the honor of directing the spot in the first place), Jarred Alterman, was off on the festival circuit with his own film Convento. Knowing this I put on my game face to try and sell long time friend and dope DoP, Mikko Timonen.

Mikko and I had worked at The New York Film Academy together and I had also worked with him as a Production Designer many times. Most of the crews I manage to trick into helping me out, have worked with me before as a designer. I’ve worked on many a film for free because that is the only way people like us (without much funding) manage to get off the ground. I figured if I could tell Mikko the concept with enough enthusiasm he would be down to shoot it. I guess I was on my game because he agreed to do it right off the bat. Mikko said two things that made me 100 percent secure that he had a fever for the flavor of the film, BLACK PROMIST and LENSE FLARE.  Done… after that it was over and there was no-way we were going to fail.

I love all that stuff: film grain, crushed blacks, muted colors, boxed out cars, The French Connection, Gloria, and The Conversation, the Anti-hero, the underdog, the Broadway Danny Rose and the Peter Falk. I only wanted actors who shared my enthusiasm for that id inherent in the references hitherto.

I had met Eleonore Hendricks (Hero #2 The Gun Moll) and Josephine Wheelwright (Hero #5 The Russian) at a small drawing salon held monthly on the upper west side. Both are native New Yorkers and film enthusiasts. I had seen Eleonore in ‘Daddy Longlegs’ and ‘The Pleasure of Being Robbed’ and she seemed to put things on the screen that I hadn’t seen before. I was dying to ask her to do something for me for a long time. I knew Josephine to be a great Russophile with an intimate understanding of the language and although I hadn’t seen her in anything as an actress I had been witness to her enjoyable and animated discourse.

Sean T. Hanratty (Hero #1 The Driver) had written the song that inspired the thought that lead to the script, etc, etc. I had known him to understand the forgotten art of Leading Man, and as so few seem to remember what an art it was, such a person is rare and should, in fact, be a leading man.

Grace Giardiana (Hero #3 The Kid) has been in almost every short film I have ever done. We spent our formative years together attempting to become post-modern Huckleberry Finns. She has been glued to a camera since the age of fourteen and is one of the best photographers I know. She also plays a newsboy better than most.

Harry Siegel (Hero #4 The nervous guy) is the City Columnist for The Village Voice, New York’s Alt Weekly Newspaper and is not really nervous as much as overwhelmed by a staggeringly fast train of thought. I have also known him for the better part of my life and would gladly include him in the Huckleberry club. He did not have a choice as to whether he was to be included in this shoot.  He is the husband of my Illustrious Costume designer and cousin Sarah Shears.

Sarah Shears used to run herself ragged in Indie film as a costume designer but she is somewhat “out the game” now. She is working on her masters in textile history from FIT. I called her out of early retirement to do my film because I seriously doubted the ability of anyone else to have understood the period or the sentiment as I could only communicate it through familial telepathy.

I had never attempted to direct anything with a car chase or a stunt before. I had worked on plenty of films that had included these elements as plot devices but as the director/producer I had to learn the skill of permitting, and booking the right gear for such things.

All my friends old and new came to help. I had met Rick Kain on the film in Baltimore. He was the stunt coordinator. He and I started talking and I told him about the car stunt I was to attempt in New York. He said he would come up and help out and he did.

TCD, (The police unit assigned to films in NYC) was hesitant about letting such a small production attempt a stunt through an intersection and down a steep hill, but I think I wore them down. The first location I chose for the car stunt was perfect but, NYC’s Puerto Rican Day Parade was the same day as my shoot and my perfect hill was on the parade rout. I was told to find another place. I found a great street in Brooklyn thanks to and dragged an Incredulous police sergeant out to Brooklyn to show him the site and beg to let me have the A-OK.  After only a little resistance, we won him over (Sean T Hanratty came with me so I didn’t seem like a crazy woman brandishing a one-page script on a street corner in Brooklyn. He wore a tie and everything turned out well.)

The first day of shooting was brutal. I had built the projection booth in my room, because most projection booths in New York were prohibitively expensive to shoot in. It was a very hot day and everyone was sweating, crammed in my tiny apartment, and being terribly good sports.

Michael Budinger (The Villain) had to wear the mask for at least six hours and was completely blind once the glowing lens eye was screwed into the mask. Which I’m sure was interesting the next day during the car chases.

We constructed something called a “poor man’s process trailer” and it actually worked thanks to Zafer, Alexa, Brennen, and Garret.  Alexa Harris one of the best riggers/key grips I know just happened to not have anything to do that day. She also sprung for donuts when I was late with the U-HaulTruck.

I guess the moral of this director’s statement is: It’s good to have friends. People who’s ideas inspire you so much that you would work hard to see their vision realized. If you know enough of those people at some point it dawns on you that these friends of yours hold you in the same regard. That the nonsense drivel that leaks from your head onto a page actually means something to those around you.

The best films I have ever seen have been from the people I know. The best songs I have ever heard I have seen performed live by the confidants and cohorts who wrote them. The best stories, songs, belly laughs and brawls are with those closest to you. It’s the stuff movies are made out of.

Thank You
Alex Brook Lynn


We would like to thank the following companies for their VERY generous support, without which, this project would not have happened:

ActZero FILMS, Beyond Our Reality, Homestead Editorial, Lost Soul
Picture Cars
, Backseat Conceptions, Adorama, and No-Frames, The
Mayor’s office of Film, Theater, & Broadcasting of NYC
, Sean T
Hanratty & The Mighty Mighty

Hero #1 The Driver: Sean T. Hanratty
Hero # 2 The Gun Moll: Eleonore Hendricks
Hero # 3 The Kid: Grace Giardenia
Hero #4 The Nervous Guy: Harry Siegel
Hero # 5 The Russian: Josephine Wheelwright

Villain : Michael Budinger
Henchman Driver: Benjamin Gooch
Henchman Backseat: Adam Chimera

Written and Directed by: Alex Brook Lynn
Dop: Mikko Timonen
Production Company: Backseat Conceptions
Executive Producer Neil McCartney, Independent Film Trust
Producer: Nick Esposito, Evan Meszaros,
1st AD: Misha Zubarev
2nd AD: Aurora Lucia-Levey
Production Manager: Erin Abeln
Production Coordinator: Corinna Mantlo
Location Manager: Jillian Stricker
1st AC: Dan Bollwerk
Key Grip: Alexa  Mignon Harris
Gaffer: Zafer Ulkucu
Additional Grip: Garrett King
Additional Grip: Brennen Brooks
Sound Recordist:Adam Chimera
Production Designer: Alex Brook Lynn
Prosthetics Artist & Special Effects Make-up: Ruby Muro
Costume Designer: Sarah Shears
Editor: Mark Nickelsburg
Sound Design & Mastering: Adam Chimera
Score: Sean T. Hanratty
Picture Car Coordinator: Matt Hollywood
Car Stunts & Stunt Driving: Rick Kain
Additional Driving: Zafer Ulkucu, Evan Meszaros, Corinna Mantlo
Production Assistant: Tassia Rosa
Production Assistant: Lisa Swain
Assistant to the Director: Jack Dorsey
Storyboards:Jack Dorsey
Set Medic: Tyrone Simms


Special Thanks:
Dayna Navatta, Christian Hoagland, Tim Cronin, Doug Sackman, Ray
Foley, Tim Holmes, Alex Mccarron, Corinna Mantlo, Lisa Swain, Becky
Lettieri, & Steve Lynn.



Vlog #2


First “Vlog” in the blog!

5/26/2011 7am

A lot has happened since the 22nd! first, I’m back in New York! I went location scouting with Miss Jillian Stricker trying to find the best street in New York City to launch a car from. The best one I’ve seen so far is Lexington btw 102 & 103. I’m hoping to shut down the street for an hour or two but that depends on the Mayor’s office and what they will let me do.

The meeting with the Mayor’s office of Film & Tv is today at 11am. Honestly, I’ve never done a car chase seen before but I know my Picture car guys, Lost soul Productions, and the Stunt Driver I am hoping to get if I can work out a deal with SAG, have done this many times.

I signed on a powerhouse SFX Makeup Artist out of Philly (crew and cast names to come). We are trying to build and odd kind of monster together for the Villains in the piece.

So far everyone I’ve shown the script to is excited about it, they also say, “Wow, Ambitious” Hmmmmmm.This isn’t what you want to remember when your trying to pull something off for very little. One would like to hear… “oh yeah, car stunt, full face prosthetic, nine characters… no problem!”

I’ll update the blog again at the end of today, when hopefully all will be clear and my path to a perfect 60 second movie will be revealed before me in hues of gold and rose.



Still in Philly at the Backseat Conceptions office. Just finished Clean Treatment, Concept Sketches, Budget, and Breakdowns. Now lets see who I can rope into to helping out! Watch out you could be getting a phone call soon!


Today is the first day of Prep for the Raindance 2011 Trailer shoot. In 2010 I am a Fat Cat won Film of the Festival at Raindance, the filmmaker of the winning film directs the trailer for the next year’s festival. So I, Alex, Nick Esposito, Ean Meszaros, Tim Cronin, Doug Sackman, and Coach of Backseat Conceptions embark on another crazy concept too large for too little with a fast approaching deadline! Hey that’s what we do!

We have to Deliver by the end of June. EEEK. Having just arrived home from Production Designing a film LUV (Learning Uncle Vincent) in Baltimore there was no choice but to hit the ground running in order to make the Raindance deadline.

I am currently working out of the Backseat Conceptions office in Philly and will Return to NYC next week to location scout in Hunt’s Point, The Bronx.

Stay Tuned for updates, photos, video, and all that other multimedia nonsense.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Bill Scurry permalink
    June 5, 2011 1:33 pm

    This is ominous and exciting, simultaneously. Can’t wait to see where it leads…

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