As the first feature film being shot at the Granite Media Center, “Just Say Love” is opening the eyes of seasoned, L.A. types and film-industry locals alike to the untapped potential and natural beauty of New Hampshire.
Granite Media Center hosted a launch party for the production last Thursday, with members of the cast, crew,and production team in attendance.
California-based actor Matthew Jaeger said that he has been enjoying the relative serenity of the Lakes Region.
“Because it’s so much quieter, it’s more conducive to focusing,” he said, adding that he enjoys waking up every morning at the inn where he’s staying to look out on Lake Winnisquam.
Jaeger added that he has been rock climbing up in Plymouth, and a crew member has been showing him the best local hiking trails.
“After lunch today I pulled two ticks off me,”he said.
Jaeger’s co-star in the two-man movie, Robert Mammana, said that he enjoys more mellow pursuits with his Lab-greyhound cross Ben.
“While you guys were driving up here,I was out in the lake with Ben, rowing,” he said. “You can get everything done, but you can still relax.”
Mammana also noted the New England hospitality.
“You sort of expect everyone will be terrific to the people involved (in the film),”he said, “but they bent over backward for my dog!”
“Just Say Love,”originally a play,is a story about two men whose physical attraction points to something much bigger, said New Englander David Mauriello,who wrote the script.
“It talks about the infinite part of us, rather than the physical,”he said.
Mauriello, like the rest of the crew and production team, had glowing comments on the Granite Media Center and the more general experience of shooting a film in the Lakes Region.
“The whole is just running so smoothly it’s amazing,”he said. “One of the characters (in ‘Just Say
Love’) talks about life being a giant jigsaw puzzle. It’s so apropos of what’s happened here.”
Executive Producer Kirkland Tibbels,from Los Angeles, said that he was pleasantly surprised by the array of resources available at Granite Media Center.
“David (Mauriello) kept saying,‘You’ve got to see this place! You’ve got to see this place!’”said Tibbels, noting that though Mauriello’s exclamation turned out to be valid, enthusiasm doesn’t
mean much where he’s from.
“In L.A., when you wave to someone you don’t know across the room, they’re your best friend when you see them in a meeting the next day,”Tibbels quipped.
Co-producer Tyler Heon is a Somersworth native, and he said that he is ecstatic to be doing his dream job in his home state.
“It’s awesome,”he said. “I’m really glad we have something like this around, and I hope it brings more work to the area. I don’t want to have to move out of the state to do what I love.”
Producer and director Bill Humphreys noted that about half of the dozen-or-so crew members responsible for lighting,sound,makeup, etc., hail from New Hampshire.
“We have a few converts we’re working on,”he added.
Shooting for “Just Say Love”wraps up on May 22.
Humphreys said that the movie has no car-chase scenes and the special effects basically consist of fake rain, snow, and leaves being blown by a fan. The film is devoted completely to the
story,he said,“keeping focus on the acting of the actors and the writing.”
“We’re trying to translate good-quality literature to the screen,kind of like they did in the 30s and 40s,”he said.
Tibbels said that “Just Say Love”is guaranteed a DVD and film festival release.The film has the “rock
solid base”of the gay audience he said, though he hopes to see it expand to an audience “as broad as we can find.”Tibbels said that the broader appeal of the nature of attraction itself, combined
with the fact that gay subject matter is “less taboo”nowadays, will hopefully propel “Just Say Love” toward commercial success.
“It’s not a gay movie,”he said.“It’s a love story.”
Printed in The Winnisquam Echo May 16, 2008
BY ERIK ZYGMONT