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Friday, January 7, 2011

Short Film Fest to Debut Jan. 10 at Fairfield Theatre Company

Short Film Fest to Debut Jan. 10 at Fairfield Theatre Company:
Eleven-film lineup includes a Fairfield-based production
(Appeared in 
Fairfield Citizen News 1/7)
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2010. All Rights Reserved.

Fairfield, CT – Fairfield’s own Giuliana’s Boutique will be splashed across the big screen Monday evening Jan. 10 when a short film festival makes it debut at the Fairfield Theatre Company.

The boutique, at 39 Unquowa Road, is the featured location in a short comedy titled “This Is It”, which is one of eleven films that will be showcased in “The View From Here: A Festival of Short Films.” Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the program will run from 7 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Admission is $10.

Stratford resident Emily Fortunato, 24, organized the event with the assistance of FTC’s producing director Miles Merek and partner Tyler Grill, for whom she works the box office at the theatre. Fortunato also co-stars in “This Is It”.

A lifelong Connecticut resident and 2008 graduate of Manhattanville College, where she majored in Communications and Theatre, Fortunato was very excited about the inclusion of a local venue. “It was amazing to film in Fairfield,” she said. “Carmen (Delabrena, the store owner) was so gracious to let us use the store. It served as its own character. It was the perfect location.”

Fortunato described the store as a dress shop popular with young girls headed to school dances and proms. “This Is It” was filmed entirely at Giuliana’s and is about two childhood best friends shopping for a dress that Fortunato’s character, Blair, is going to wear on a blind date with a guy she met through an Internet matchmaking site. As they browse, issues arise with regard to Blair’s history with men. The film co-stars Larisa Shaterian and was directed by Rosalyn Coleman Williams.

Williams, along with her husband Craig, owns New York City-based Red Wall Productions, which helped assess and organize the films for the festival event. Williams is also an acting coach and produces a #1 iTunes-rated podcast called “Everything Acting.” It was the podcast that connected Fortunato and Williams.

“I was a fan and listener,” said Fortunato, “and reached out to Roslyn through the site. We met and I started taking acting lessons from her. I consider her a mentor and she was very glad to assist with the festival effort.”

The feeling was mutual for Giuliana’s owner Delabrena. “I first met Emily as a customer of the shop. I made some custom dresses for her then she came back to me about the film. I love to help out in the community when I can. The filming experience was wonderful, very organized. They did a great job and I look forward to seeing the film. The 10th is also my birthday!”

Fortunato and Williams collaborated on three films featured in the fest. The other two are “Daddy for Lunch” and “Sketchy Future”. Films each had to be under 15 minutes in length and fall in one of the following categories: funky, fun, moving, sexy or dramatic. All were directed by professional filmmakers and performed by professional actors.

The inspiration for the festival came in early Nov. 2010 while Fortunato was onsite at FTC. “I thought it would be exciting to bring film to FTC. Miles and Tyler were extremely excited about it and really helped with all the details. This has been an amazing experience, especially as a young actor. I feel I am finding my voice as an artist and as a creative entrepreneur.”

As to what audiences should expect, Fortunato said, “There’s something for everyone. People will definitely connect, whether they like comedy or drama or another genre. We hope to do this annually if it’s successful.”

The Fairfield Theatre Company is located at 70 Sanford Street, Fairfield. For more information about the festival, visit

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