“All good relationships are built on liquor,” Queens-based actor and writer Michael Wolfe said of his Weehawkenite film collaborator, Robert Nicotra. Wolfe had just seen “Men Without Myth,” a 2010 theatre production consisting of three plays, one of which Nicotra acted in, another of which he wrote.
“I really liked him in both capacities,” Wolfe said. “I’m always drawn to people who can wear different hats, and his writing just blew me away.” So, they went out for a drink.
After meeting and chatting and finding they had similar interests and similar multiple hat-wearing capacities, Nicotra saw Wolfe in a production of “The Banshee of Bainbridge” during which Wolfe played a “frightening and disturbing, emotionally demanding and troubling character,” he said.
“David Lynch is great if you’re 16 and on LSD and angry at your parents.” – Michael Wolfe
“If it hadn’t been for our former acting coach John Dapolito [who wrote and directed one of the three plays that brought the two together for the first time], we’d never have met,” Nicotra explained. “I want to help people do their own work and produce their own material like I’ve been able to do in the past, and I am tremendously impressed by Michael’s talents.”
Two and a half years of collaboration later, the film is set to premiere on June 5 at the Hoboken International Film Festival.
I love ya,’ tomorrow
Generally when one thinks independent film festivals, one thinks avant-garde, shakey hand-held film shots through filters that make carnivals seem low-key. This is not the case with “Maybe Tomorrow.” The film is more character driven and is largely writing-focused.
“David Lynch is great if you’re 16 and on LSD and angry at your parents,” Wolfe said. “This is a gritty character drama where three men confront who they are in their mid thirties.”
The three male lead friends of fifteen years face this, he explained, when a crime and subsequent cover-up forces them to do so; but the crux of the film is not really the crime. It’s about how it shapes their lives and the dialogues that ensue.
The film’s narrative spans three days, though the bulk of it takes place in one night. Wolfe, the film’s director as well as screen writer and part-time producer, also happens to play one of the leads, Russ Mahler. “I’m the one screaming, yelling, and crying,” Wolfe advised as the way to identify his character in the film’s trailer posted on www.maybetomorrowthefilm.com.
“I was astounded watching Michael on set from pre-production, to filming, to post-production,” Nicotra said. “He did an absolutely phenomenal job collaborating with everyone. It’s an extremely active show, and a lot of people will be impressed by this film.”
Yesterday, next week, and after tomorrow
“Robert, Mark Montgomery [the film’s third producer], and I went through an infuriating, gut-wrenching, agonizing process of begging for money for over two and a half years,” Wolfe said. “Twenty investors later, we had enough to green-light the project.”
Nicotra’s role as producer entailed a constant money search, he said, and extended to budget and schedule management, crew herding, and location contracting. It was a role he was familiar with, having spent some time in the financial industry before high-tailing it into a life of acting, writing, and producing.
“My connections as a Weehawken resident helped quite a bit,” Nicotra explained. “I contacted the New Jersey Film Commission and was pointed toward the Essex County Courthouse, which is where part of the film takes place.”
Exactly four years after Wolfe sat down to write the first version of the script, “Maybe Tomorrow” will premiere at Hudson Cinemas in Jersey City’s Hudson Mall on June 5 at 6 p.m. But a filmmaker’s work is never done, and a writer better love the heck out of the screenplay before committing to it, Wolfe explained.
“Imagine dating someone you really don’t like for five years and then don’t do it,” he said. “Robert has done a fantastic job of taking care of every step of post production, including marketing and festival submissions and, of course, more money. It really never ends.”
The pair is already in the early stages of putting together another Wolfe-written film, “I Love You, I’ll Miss You, Goodbye.” It is testament to their near-fanatic dedication to film and their ability to work well together.
“We have high hopes for both films,” Wolfe said, “but this time, we’ll do it bigger and better.”
For information on the film, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the Hoboken Film Festival, visit www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com.
Gennarose Pope may be reached at email@example.com