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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

It’s no dream – giving birth to lifelong goal of creating a movie

By Eli Ruiz - staff writer

Contributed photo
Charles Marinaro, at far left in blue shirt, directs The Factory amidst all the paraphernalia of a movie set.
From the age of seven, 24-year-old Monticello native Charles Marinaro knew he was going to direct a film. “Back then as a child my cousins Paul and Alan (Trinca) and I would make these shorts we called PAC (first name initials) films,” said Marinaro in a recent interview with the Democrat.
Marinaros cousins stayed the course and pursued careers in the arts, while Marinaro ventured into the human services field, but as he said, “The arts just never left my bloodstream… the dream to direct a film just never left me.”
Marinaro can now call that dream a reality, as the Monticello High School grad just wrapped his directorial debut, “The Factory,” this past December.
The Factory, which he also conceived and wrote, “Is a medical facility where ‘The Doctor uses hypnosis to treat his patients and essentially gives them a second lease-on-life,” Marinaro explained. “Through the hypnosis treatment people can change their role in society… in other words, a ditch digger can be[come] a doctor.
It kind of shows how people in life aren't so different after all.”
Marinaro claims that he and his Casting Director/Production Manager Melissa Cohen of Liberty, along with script co-writer and Assistant Director Christopher Matrone, funded the project out of pocket.
“It was a huge risk we were taking here. We didn't know what to expect,” Marinaro said. “Everything just happened so quickly.”
The director had a working script by August and “soon after the script was done I hooked up with a great cinematographer named Simon Fridlich,” explained Marinaro.
The rest, as they say, is history. Filming took place from October to December, and even included a few Sullivan County locations, including the Rivoli Theater in South Fallsburg where one of the films critical scenes was shot.
The up-and-coming director and his partners had to overcome various obstacles to get their film done, not the least of which was filling the more than 40 speaking roles included in the production.
So the pair put out a casting call.
“We were so nervous just wondering if people were actually going to show up,” offered Cohen. “As it turned out we had just this major turnout. It was amazing to see such a crowd of actors pour in… we had to see people from 5 p.m. to 10.”
More than 100 actors showed up that day to be vetted by Cohen and Marinaro.
“With a local production like this you'll get at the most 30 actors respond to a casting call,” said Marinaro. “The response we received was incredible.”
The problem for the pair soon became not a shortage of actors to fill the roles, but an abundance: “To see the amount of people and talent in that room was overwhelming,” said Marinaro. “The hardest part was having to turn away some of that talent.”
On the actors resumés were such credits as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Law and Order, Blue Bloods, 30 Rock, Rescue Me, and Orange is the New Black.
One of those “talented” actors who made the cut was Philadelphia native Mike Sutton, who scored the films lead, “The Doctor.”
“I mean with such a great actor [as Sutton], and him coming all the way from Philadelphia… we just really wanted to cast him,” said Cohen. “He actually assured us that he was on board. He was so dedicated to the project that he stayed in local hotels or just commuted during filming. I think he appreciated that we believed in him enough to give him the lead role.”
With a tight budget, Marinaro and Cohen are also thankful for those cast and crew, many of whom they say “volunteered their time and effort just for a chance at that big break, to be seen or just to build up their ‘reel.”
Several people have extended their connections to secure screenings at various theaters in the area.
Cohen said they welcome “photographers for future events/premier night/photo shoots, graphic designers talented in After Effects and people looking to help market our film. They can email us at thefactory2013@”
Ryan Wagner did the original composing for the film.
Another difficulty Marinaro would soon identify was simply garnering attention for his project at industry events. “You know the establishment just kind of looks down on you when you tell them that this is your directorial debut… they kind of laugh at you,” he said.
Marinaro and Cohen were humbled by the experience. “Were just average hardworking people,” said Cohen. “But I really feel that weve really done something bigger than us.”
Marinaro, who hopes to be able show the finished film at various film festivals and pick up a distributor, also remains realistic, offering, “You know, this has always been my dream, but we still have giant challenges ahead of us.”
Still, with a new film script already in the works, the experience, challenges and all, have also bolstered young Marinaros confidence: “I feel things will be a lot easier from now on for having gone through with this [first production],” he said. “It was definitely a huge risk, but hey, you have to start from somewhere.”
For more information on The Factory and its cast and crew, including a movie trailer, go to

A brush with the professionals
The Factory cinematographer Simon Fridlich, owner of Simon Sez Productions. writes: “I studied Motion Picture Production at Germain School of Photography in Manhattan in 1972, when I was the age that Charles and Melissa are now. I had the same dream then that they have now and started making movies with now-acclaimed director Abel Ferrara, working on his first.
“After a few years I found I could not make enough money to start my family and became a builder with my familys business. For 35 years I employed many people and built developments in Rockland and later in Orange County. In recent years, because of the economy, I had to give up building and reinvent myself, making educational videos, pilots, and commercials for small businesses.
“When I met Charles, Melissa and Chris at a networking event at the Paramount in Middletown, they awakened my dream of making feature films. I totally admired the drive they had and soon collaborated to make The Factory a reality.
“Now in the editing stage Im amazed at what a great film we are making on a shoestring budget, where all the participants volunteered their time to make this happen. Even though we used unknown actors they did a wonderful job and hope that some will launch their career with this film. I do this for the love of the art, but if we happen to make some money, I would love to make the next movie with a real budget.“

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