Producer PJ Leonard in pre-production for New TV Series HUDSON COUNTY
Shows will feature fictional reality similar to LAW & ORDER
By Sally Deering
Once upon a time in Hudson County, the splotch of towns across from Manhattan, some strange, brutal and even hilarious happenings seem to have taken place in the dog-eat-dog world of local politics. Just mention former Jersey City Mayor Frank “Boss” Hague, who ruled with iron fists in Kidd gloves from 1917-1947, and people’s ears perk up. Hague’s infamous political career paved the way for those who followed in his corruption-soaked footsteps. Their stories made front page headlines and to film producer PJ Leonard, they also make for good TV.
Leonard has assembled a creative team to launch a new TV series he’s creating, HUDSON COUNTY, which he says, will be fiction based on non-fiction similar to shows like “LAW & ORDER”. He recruited writer Raymond McAnally, whose play SIZE MATTERS earned critical acclaim, and who lived in Jersey City for several years; actors Obba Babatundé and Sonny Marinelli, and Robert S. Fingerman, CPA, founder of Independent Films Production Consultants. Continue reading HUDSON GOES HOLLYWOOD→
Anthony Cupo grew up in Jersey City a few blocks from Journal Square and thousands of miles from the Sundance Resort in Park City, Utah, a small ski village that Robert Redford turned into a famous film festival location back in 1978. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival was in full-swing the week of Jan. 17 and Cupo, who is the Executive Producer and Editor of his first feature film “Concussion” saw his dream come true when he received a seven-figure offer from RADIUS-TWC to distribute “Concussion” in the fall. Of course, Cupo said yes.
The Sundance Film Festival attracts thousands of producers, directors, writers, actors, critics and studio ‘heads’ who turn the small ski village into a Hollywood event where films are screened in theaters and other venues and prizes are given out to the top contenders. Cupo’s film, “Concussion,” written and directed by his friend Stacie Passon tells the story of what happens when a suburban wife and mother gets a concussion that fractures her perspective on her marriage and more importantly, her life. Critics like Jim Dobson, President of Indie PR in Studio City, California,who attended a screening, gave “Concussion” 3-1/2 stars.
Robin Weigert stars in Concussion
“There is a real concussion at the beginning of the antiseptically beautiful “Concussion,” but it’s also a metaphor that’s no less jarring. When Abby (Robin Weigert), a suburban lesbian married to Kay (Julie Fain Lawrence), gets hit by a baseball thrown by one of their children, it sets off a need for change in her routine existence. She works on renovating a downtown loft with a contractor, Justin (Jonathan Tchaikovsky), who also pimps on the side — and Abby decides to take female clients as a high-end hooker, using the professional name Eleanor. Writer-director Stacie Passion’s sexually charged premise becomes a vehicle for an emotional exploration of a stagnant relationship and the struggle between desire and stability. Weigert (best known for her work on “Deadwood”) gives a performance that’s revelatory in more ways than one, as Abby sheds inhibitions and clothes. The slick look (by production designer Lisa Myers and art director Kevin P. O’Donnell) highlights the split between Abby’s suburban oppression and her urban freedom.”
Terrific reviews like that keep pouring in for “Concussion” and Cupo, 42, is thrilled about his Sundance experience. An alumnus of the School of Visual Arts in New York, Cupo has been involved in film since he was a kid playing hooky to catch the movies playing in the Journal Square movie theaters close to home. He has worked on commercials and videos with all the major networks and in 2006 Cupo partnered with friend and colleague R. Jamie Mamalis to open The Rust Company in Manhattan, a lab, of sorts, that offers the latest cutting-edge technology for filmmakers to edit film and video and perform other creative tasks to see their films and videos realized.
At Sundance, Cupo took a break before his film’s screening on Thursday to share with Riverview Observer what it’s like showing his film at the Sundance Film Festival and making a deal that may change the course of his life and career.
RVO: Congratulations on the success of “Concussion” at Sundance.
AC: Thank you. People here are digging it. It all goes to Stacie Passon, the writer and director.
Writer, Director, and Former Mayor of Guttenberg Peter La Villa (R) seen here with Kiwanda Bustamante, an independent film producer, and Marla Gibbs,(Center) star of ” The Jeffersons” and “227”
All attended the showing of La Villa’s feature film “Oak Hill” , starring Academy -award winner and Golden Globe winning actress Sally Kirkland, at the La Femme Film Festival in Los Angeles in November
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