Written by: FFT Webmaster | March 29th, 2011
8 Top Awards on the Festival Circuit
The Story is Fiction, the Conflict is Not
Co-starring Pooja Kumar as JASMIN
New York — The QUAD Cinema, presents the New York premiere of the affecting and fiercely independent first feature, DRAWING WITH CHALK (87 min.) by producer/director team Todd Giglio and Christopher Springer.
Best friends, brothers-in-law and still aspiring actors and musicians, Giglio and Springer wrote and produced, Giglio directed and scored, and both star as lifelong friends, JAY and MATT, two 40-year-old musicians attempting to jump-start their stalled music career.
Jay and Matt grew up together, moved to New York together (like Giglio and Springer), and spent several years inching up the ladder of success, taking day jobs and playing their music when they could. Jay met and married JASMIN (Pooja Kumar, a former Miss India/USA and a rising Bollywood star) the daughter of a successful émigré family from India. She believed in Jay’s music and was willing to put her education on hold to take a full time job. Jay and Matt even caught a lucky break to sign with a record label—which each accuses the other of sabotaging.
To regroup, Jay and Matt move back home to upstate New York. Still determined to produce an album, they build a small recording studio in Jay’s house and take jobs at Matt’s Dad’s crane factory. (Tom Loughlin, the producers’ former drama teacher at SUNY plays Matt’s dad, RAY).
However, they get caught up in life, not art. Five years pass.
As the film begins, Jay and Jasmin are now parents (son Bryan is played by Giglio’s adorable son, Brennan), and Matt is still hanging out, doing drugs and basically slacking off. The small recording studio has gone virtually unused. When the recession forces layoffs, the two friends decide in earnest to make a final run at their recording careers. Things really start cooking, Matt is sober, and Jay feels that he’s at the top of his game. The two friends are closer than they’ve ever been—and they see it in the music. But Jasmin and her parents have run out of patience. Making music isn’t making a living and Jasmin is pregnant again.
When Jay refuses Jasmin’s brother’s offers to help set him up in a well-paying job, DRAWING WITH CHALK turns into a drama of increasing narrative and psychological complexity, testing Jay’s marriage, his friendship with Matt and the future of their dreams.
Reminiscent of Claudia Weill’s 1978 landmark indie film GIRLFRIENDS, which examined the damaged friendship of two women who go their separate ways after one marries, DRAWING WITH CHALK goes deeper than recent male buddy movies with their man/boy characters in protracted adolescence.
As Springer notes, “There’s definitely a downside to refusing to act your age. Once the laughter stops, those characters need to face the music; it’s not all about frat parties, beer kegs and women…Matt’s in a serious crisis, he has nowhere to go…because he never bothered to take anything seriously.”
”Twenty years gone in a flash,” Giglio reminisces. “Here we were, two guys on the brink of turning forty with our careers being nothing more than a memory shared over a couple of beers. In essence, why did we give up? This film (and the music for me as well) would be our last attempt at the dream, a way for us to temporarily escape from having to make that forever-life-changing decision. We hope it inspires others either to appreciate their own decisions, or to grab on and give it ‘one more shot’”.
Do-it-yourself technology has allowed Giglio and Springer to put themselves in their own film, assemble a family (in some cases literally) of costars and collaborators, and develop characters and a story that’s familiar to them, but far more than a document of their own lives. Giglio and Springer are among those who are making a significant advancement in the independence of independent filmmaking and capturing an authentic realism that resonates.
“We met countless people” says Springer, “who were convinced we’d hid in their closets, listening to an argument they were having with their girlfriend or wife about why they must continue to pursue their dreams, no matter how “far-fetched…” One viewer wrote, ‘You guys hit the mark and hard, at every artist’s crossroads is the same dilemma…art or life?’”
About the SOUNDTRACK:
DRAWING FOR CHALK’S original score, produced by Giglio’s own retro rock band THE TURNBACK, was cited by The Independent Critic, Richard Propes “as a stellar complement to the film’s subtle emotional tones” winning the Jury Choice Silver Medal for Excellence for the Best Impact of Music in a Feature Film at the Park City Film Music Festival among 11 other awards. The film’s soundtrack is mixed by the illustrious Jeff Peters (Brian Wilson, Christina Aguilera, Brian Setzer) and mastered by Joe Gastwirt (Jimmy Hendrix, The Beach Boys, Paul McCartney) and will be released in March to coincide with the film’s opening at the QUAD.