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Rising Star, Shot In Hartford, Screens At Science Center

Romantic Drama Tells Story Of Workaholic Insurance Man And Free-Spirited Woman


July 30, 2012

The feature film "Rising Star" was filmed in Hartford. It tells the story of a workaholic insurance guy who meets a free-spirited woman, and they stroll the city casually for a day talking about life.

Its writer and director, Marty Lang, wants audiences to know one thing off the bat.

"I counted the miles they walked, and I know it's the worst walk you could possibly do, 20 miles in one day. It's not the leisurely walk that it seems to be in the movie," Lang said in an interview. "I'm hoping Hartford audiences who figure that out will forget about it and just get caught up in the story."

Audiences will have the chance to do that on Friday, Aug. 3, when "Rising Star" is screened at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford.

Lang adds: "and I hope people in other cities see it, too, and just love the movie."

Lang is working on getting national distribution for his movie. Lang, who has taught film at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, is dedicating himself in the next few months to trying to get "Rising Star" to a national audience.

In the movie, Chris (Prospect native Gary Ploski) finds out he may get laid off from an insurance company whose office is in the Candy Cane Building (Hartford Square North) on Columbus Boulesvard. So he goes out and gets drunk at City Steam, then goes to a party and meets a girl, Alyza, (Bristol native Emily Morse). Coincidentally, she's the girl he's been chatting with on an online dating site.

Later in the movie, they walk, from that party house to City Steam to her apartment in Frog Hollow, to the Twain House to Cedar Hill Cemetery, past the old Spaghetti Warehouse to Bushnell Park, to the old Alchemy Juice Bar Cafe. "Everything in this city is walking distance for you," Chris jokes to Alyza.

Other Hartford locations where Chris and Alyza wander are the Science Center, Sully's Pub, ArtSpace and Union Station. Some scenes were shot in Newington and Manchester. Other roles are played by Durham native Michael Barra, Luz Ramos of Newington and Hamden native Greg Nutcher. DJ Gary Craig has a small role as a bus driver.

The movie was shown a 18 months ago at a rough-cut, focus-group screening at the Mark Twain House, and Lang took comments from the audience to heart.

"People said Alyza was too perfect, that she didn't have any real flaws to deal with, while Chris was learning a lot about himself. We did reshoots last May, adding one new scene and reshooting another scene and we added some lines of audio," he said. "I wanted to suggest that she has some challenges to overcome, to make her more of a three-dimensional character."

Since that focus-group screening, the movie has been shown at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, where it won prizes (called "Stiffys") for best on-screen romance and best premiere, an award created especially for "Rising Star." "We were the first out-of-town film ever to sell out their screening," Lang said.

The movie also will be shown on Sept. 7 in Bushnell Park and in October at the Hartford Flick Fest.

At the Science Center event this week, Lang will be there, as will Ploski, Morse, Barra, Nutcher and actress Sari Gagnon.

Lang, 35 a 1999 graduate of UConn who went on to a graduate filmmaking course at Florida State was raised in Newington and now lives in East Windsor. He said that as a child, he loved Hartford, where his parents grew up.

"Of course Hartford was impressive. That's where the Whalers were," he said.

"RISING STAR" will be shown twice at the Connecticut Science Center, 250 Columbus Blvd. in Hartford, on Friday, Aug. 3. The 7 p.m. screening which includes a red-carpet event, a Q&A with cast and crew and the after-party at Sully's Pub is sold out. A second screening is at 9:15 p.m., and attendees also can go to Sully's after. To buy tickets to the second show: http://ctfilmfest.ticketleap.com/rising-star-second-show/.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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