Just Say Love – Robert Mammana

November 21, 2012 in Slideshow

Robert MammanaRobert Mammana was nominated for a 1994 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for “Sugar” at the Apple Tree Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.

2011 LA Weekly Award Recipient, LA Drama Critics Circle nomination, and LA Ovation nomination for his portrayal of “”Warren” in the critically acclaimed The Twentieth Century Way at The Theatre @ Boston Court.

Robert Mammana plays Doug in Just Say Love

Doug is the floundering, uncertain member of the story. In essence, he is the ‘everyman’ of JSL – he represents all of humanity that isn’t able to break through to the acceptance of their own sexuality. His concern is realising who he really is and bringing that to light and life.

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Eliot filmmaker looks to bring ‘Just Say Love’ to the big screen

November 16, 2012 in Home Page, News

Bill Humphreys, an Eliot-based filmmaker, is hoping to parlay the recent stage success of the play “Just Say Love” into a hit feature film.

Humphreys, who is currently in Tilton preparing to film a screen adaptation of the play with producer-writer David J. Mauriello, said the movie will be shot entirely in an enclosed “black box” soundstage. Humphreys said he and Mauriello decided to forgo the typical on-location settings of regular feature films and incorporate the theatrical techniques of stage plays by using a bare-bones set. The pair said the minimalist style was partly inspired by Lars von Trier’s “Dogville,” a 2003 film that contained few set pieces and used painted outlines to indicate scenery.

“Our focus on style is to really try and make a marriage between live theater and the cinema,” said Mauriello, a Wakefield, Mass., native.

Humphreys, who grew up in California before moving to Eliot 20 years ago, wrote the screenplay for the film based on Mauriello’s original stage script.

“Just Say Love” explores the physical and spiritual bonds between two men, Guy and Doug, who eventually find enlightenment through their relationship, according to Mauriello.

“It’s a male love story,” he said. “It transcends the normal way we look at relationships.”

“I’ve never had anyone complain about the subject matter,” he continued. “It’s an amazing phenomenon.”

Since premiering at the Player’s Ring theater in Portsmouth last June, “Just Say Love” went on to play at the Boston Center for the Arts in Massachusetts and is scheduled to be produced in venues across the country in the coming months, according to Mauriello. The play was nominated for Best New Play by the Independent Reviewers of New England and Best Original Script by the Spotlight on Arts awards.

For the movie version, Stagewright Films, a New Hampshire-based production company, landed Los Angeles actors Matthew Jaeger and Robert Mammana for the lead roles. Jaeger has appeared in the film “Room Service” with Howie Mandel; Mammana has appeared in “Flightplan” with Jodie Foster, as well as the television shows “Numbers,” “The OC” and “Charmed.”

The film will be shot in the Granite Media Center in Tilton from May 5-22. The actors and crew are staying at the Lord Hampshire hotel in Tilton.

“We’ve taken over the place,” Humphreys said.

After post-production work is complete, the film will be distributed by the Los Angeles-based Funny Boy Films.

Mauriello originally wrote the first draft of the play in 1992 and didn’t revisit it until 2005, when he cut out much of the “philosophy” language.

“Kind of like a boiling-down process, where what’s left is the stew,” he said.

Mauriello credited the play’s success with the publicity it gained after premiering at the Player’s Ring.

“Without these small theaters that are willing to do original plays by people who are completely unknown, these works would never get out to the audience,” Mauriello said. “It shows how important it is for all of us (playwrights) to have an outlet.”


Article Date: Thursday, May 1, 2008

L.A. actors brought in to film regional play

November 16, 2012 in News

Bill Humphreys has spent the last 35 years working in film, television and radio, 25 of those in Los Angeles. But instead of Burbank, the next project he produces and directs will be on a sound stage in Tilton.

Yes, Tilton.

But the actors come from Los Angeles.

Cast and crew will be calling the Lord Hampshire on Lake Winnisquam home this May while they shoot Just Say Love. It’s the first major production at Granite State Media (www.gmcnh.com), the Tilton facility that opened in the fall. It’s also an initial attempt on a new take for turning plays into film, Humphreys said.

“There’s been two standard methods to make the transfer from theatrical material to the screen,” Humphreys said. One is to place scenes in real-world settings, and the other is to stage the play in a proscenium arch in front of a live audience. “Both seem to come up short in some ways,” Humphreys said. For him, “that sense of theater has been lost,” he said.

Regional playwright David Mauriello was of the same mindset, the two discovered late last summer. “We both had the same vision of how to accomplish this task which has been tried time and time again,” Humphreys said.

They chose Mauriello’s play, Just Say Love, to test out their theory.

Essentially, they want to mount a black box theatrical production in a sound stage, but “impose the cameras into it” and shoot it cinematically, Humphreys said. The style would be “referred to as Brechtian,” with minimalist sets, he said. Instead of shooting in a park, for example, Boston Common will be represented by gravel and benches on the sound stage. An apartment will be a platform with doors but no walls.

“Rather than laying it all out for them … I’d rather have the audience spend a little time being curious,” Humphreys said. “The goal, of course, is to bring the audience in to the story and let them understand it from inside out, basically,” Humphreys said.

Just Say Love is a “beautifully written story, about the evolution of a relationship,” from initial physical attraction to a more spiritual and platonic relationship, Humphreys said. It was nominated for Best New Play by the Independent Reviewers of New England. It premiered at the Players Ring in Portsmouth and has also been staged in Chicago and at the BCA in Boston.

Stagewright Films auditioned in Los Angeles and cast Matthew Jaeger as Guy, a sensitive vegetarian gay artist, and Robert Mammana as Doug, a straight carpenter.

Humphreys said initially he wanted to film in New Hampshire because this is his home. Mauriello also lives in the region. But also, it’s a lot more “cost-effective” to shoot in New Hampshire than in California, or even Boston. Even though Massachusetts offers a tax credit to shoot within the state, sound stage rates can be about four times higher. And New Hampshire has no sales tax.

In addition, the Lakes Region is a “very conducive place to do creative work.”

Humphreys has won three Emmy awards. One was for a documentary about the California death penalty. Another was for a dramatic interpretation of Robert Frost’s poetry. The third was for a dramatic piece that dealt with “the plight of rural American farms.”

The cost of making the individually financed film fluctuates, but Humphreys said at least $250,000 will be injected into the Lakes Region economy from the project during May.

Stagewright plans to wrap on May 23, and has set an Aug. 1 deadline for the final product. The group distributes through Funny Boy Films in Los Angeles (www.funnyboyfilms.com), which will handle theater and television release and DVD home sales.

Humphreys said the long-range goal of Stagewright Films is to create a series of plays filmed in this manner and hope that sparks an interest among audiences in seeing live theater. “The human nature of actors performing live is just a very magical thing,” Humphreys said.

By Heidi Masek

Gay love story is first film production attracted

November 16, 2012 in News

The Granite Media Center (GMC) held a reception yesterday to celebrate the start of filming of the facility’s first motion picture. Public officials and private business leaders from throughout the community came to meet the cast and crew of “Just Say Love,” a film that is expected to open later this year. Stagewright Productions, the producers, starting filming earlier this week and expected to be done in about one week.

Producer/Director Bill Humphreys of Elliot, Me. said he chose the local facility for several reasons.
One was simply to be able to work near his home and employ New Englanders experienced in the field. (About one-third of the crew of “Just Say Love” is New Hampshire residents.) The other was simply to save money. “To get a facility this size in Los Angeles or New York would have been four or five times the costs,” Humphreys said. “And there’s no sales tax here.”

For Eliza Leadbeater, former executive director of the Belknap County Economic Development Council, the filming of “Just Say Love” is the fulfillment of a dream she’s had for over 12 years.

That’s when she first saw the old farmhouse and property on Autumn Drive. At the request of state arts official, she examined the 40,000-square-foot facility with the idea that it could be turned into a film production studio that would bring a touch of Hollywood magic — and business — into the Lakes Region.

Leadbeater thought she had a commitment to have a Meryl Streep movie shot at the still unfinished plant until Massachusetts film officials swept and offered the film’s producers financial inducements that couldn’t be locally matched. But shortly after Leadbeater left the council in 2007, she met with local businessman Robert Callahan and the two starting work on creating the GMC. Now production companies that are filming commercials, producing special media projects and hosting corporate events are using the facility more and more regularly.

Besides the filming facilities GMC rents both long and short-term office space while providing services — from office equipment to catering — to whoever is using the building.

While Leadbeater was talking, several members of the “Just Say Love” crew were demonstrating some “movie magic” for the crowd of about 70 people who attended the event. Co-producer/production manager Tyler Heon and electrician Danny Belinkie walked around a set where it was “snowing” — tiny soap bubbles.

Before the event kicked off, Humphreys said the movie is an adaptation of a play by David Mauriello. “The story is about a relationship between two people and how they go through that initial phase of being physically attracted to each other,” Humphreys said, “then it progresses to be something more spiritual, into and a platonic relationship.” The two main characters are gay men in their early 30s, he added.

Addressing the reception audience later, Humphreys said that what Stagewright is aiming to do is the opposite of what usually occurs in movies today. “We’re not interested in car chases or explosions,” he said. Instead the company wants to take small intimate plays like “Just Say Love” and adapt them for the screen without “opening up” the way Hollywood filmmakers usually do.

By Ray Carbone

Printed in The Laconia Daily Sun


Gay NH-Based Playwright Gets Film Deal

November 16, 2012 in News

A collaboration between three-time Emmy Award winning Producer/Director Bill Humphreys and multiple award-winning Executive Producer/Writer David J. Mauriello, Stagewright Films, a newly formed NH-based film production company, announced this week that shooting on a film adaptation of Mauriello’s “Just Say Love” will begin in May now that principle casting is complete.

Los Angeles-based actors Matthew Jaeger and Robert Mammana will star in Mauriello’s two-man story, which is the first in a series of adaptations planned by Stagewright Films.

Mauriello originally wrote the script for stage, with Humphreys having adapted it for the screen and serving as its film director. The stage version of “Just Say Love” premiered at the Player’s Ring in Portsmouth, NH and was recently nominated in the Best New Play category by the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards and the Best Original Script category by the Spotlight on the Arts awards.

Over the past year it has been mounted in both Boston and Chicago. There are plans for several other productions of “Just say Love” in the coming months at venues across the country.

Shooting is scheduled to begin May 5 and run through the end of the month with all principal photography being done entirely on site at the GMCNH studio. Once completed, Funny Boy Film will distribute the film. Its most recent project was the film version of Broadway’s “Naked Boys Singing.”

Printed in The New England Blade (now defunct) – April 2, 2008
Written By: William Henderson