Unreel! BK goes big screen at home-grown (not pasturesmithed) film fest

Soap opera doc turned indie film hunk Eric Sheffer-Stevens plays a tortured Brooklyn divorcee in Lefty Loosey Righty Tighty, premiering at BFF on Saturday.

Still recovering from the liver-exhausting sweat-a-thon that was Memorial Day weekend? The Brooklyn Film Festival kicks off this weekend to provide an alternative cultural experience that involves air conditioned sitting. This competitive event, running through June 10 at Brooklyn Heights Cinema and indieScreen, features more than 100 films from 29 countries including 10 about/made in Brooklyn and 25 written/directed by Brooklyn-based filmmakers.

One movie that’s bound to resonate with locals — this one loved it — is Lefty Loosey Righty Tighty (Sat. June 2, 10pm at BH Cinema; Wed. June 6, 10pm at indieScreen). Set in Park Slope, this film is a charming and sarcastic look at the quintessentially (white, yuppie/hipster) Brooklyn problem of being too young to be old, and too old to be young. Enjoy its pithy comedic banter, relate-able characters and life dilemmas, and visually compelling tour de Brooklyn montages. We also like Lefty Loosey’s broke-tastic back story.

Three years ago, James Yaegashi, a Greenwood Heights-based actor with many theater, TV and film credits, was trying to stage an off-Broadway show. But the economy was dragging ass and funding for the arts was non-existent. So he decided to make a film instead, thinking it might prove cheaper than a stage show.

To write it, he recruited long-time friend Patrick McNamara, co-founder of local indie music scene website OhMyRockness (hence the film’s rad soundtrack). Over beers at a local bar the story took shape and a few months later McNamara  delivered a first draft script about 30-somethings struggling with questions of contentment at the crossroads of kid vs. adult living in Brooklyn. The duo workshopped and rewrote through the spring and sat down for the first table read in June of 2010.

The SAG card-carrying actor friends Yaegashi recruited for the read all signed on for the film. Thanks to “bro-favors,” they were able to shoot using two borrowed cameras and other equipment; all locations were donated by local businesses and friends, as well as licenses for most of the music. Principal photography was shot in just two weeks.

But by time shooting was complete, there was zero money left for editing, publicity, and other post-production work. They had no idea how they were going to proceed. They considered Kickstarter, but decided to try putting up a website and asking for donations via PayPal. Then like magic, money started pouring in. Turns out one of the three lead actors, Eric Sheffer-Stevens, had a devout following of fans who were in the grips of grief over the death of his character, Dr. Reid Oliver on As The World Turns. They hit their target number in four days.

The final cut was screened a little more than a year after the idea was conceived. The whole thing, start to finish, cost well under $20,000. It’s not Inception, but rather Ed Burns circa 2000 if he lived in Brooklyn. Favorite line: “I’m not an alcoholic. I’m a New Yorker.” Support bootstrap filmmaking in Brooklyn by coming out this weekend for one of the screenings and vote Lefty Loosey for the Audience Award.

Full festival passes are $150, but you can also buy tickets for individual shows for $12 or a 4 pack of tickets for any show except opening night for $30. See the schedule for times and details.


3 Comment

  • Great writeup of a worthy film. Smarty-pants Brooklynites wont want to miss this one.

  • I have some friends who are going to see this tomorrow with the tickets they got for donating to helping this film get made & can’t wait to see it.
    I also had a bunch of friends see it a year ago & were amazed at how great this film was & i can’t wait for it to come out so i can see it.

  • Not sure about this one, but I do love Brooklyn and it’s culture. The festival is always good anyways.