In our local recovery community, there were three deaths in a short period of time. Two were from suicide, and one was an alcohol/drug overdose, all occurring after each of them had had periods of sobriety.
It was devastating. I knew and liked all three of them. One of them had been a doctor - quite successful from his blue-collar community, and he lived across the street from us.
I felt the need to tell a story that somehow honored their struggles.
Julien killed himself, and I am friends with the woman that was his girlfriend. I took this story from the circumstance, but it’s all fiction except for the deaths.
I wanted to bring to light the fact that this struggle is indeed life-and-death, and that if an alcoholic decides to drink then anything…anything…can happen.
This was one of my favorite shoots. A little band of six of us went out and made this film one day, and then we went and had a terrific, celebratory meal at a Greek restaurant in the famous NYC Greek neighborhood, Astoria.
I had gained permission from a wonderful owner of a liquor store to shoot outside of his store. He was friendly and supportive throughout the day.
This was my first time both acting and directing. I was able to focus more on the acting part of it due to the excellent collaboration with our cinematographer and our assistant director/producer.
And the actress, Virginia, was very locked in for this shoot, so her intensity brought my focus into the playing of the scenes.
I commissioned a friend to write and perform the music. His first pass at a song captured exactly the feeling I wanted, so he filled it out and made a beautiful recording.