Greenport (USA | 2017, 26 min)

Directed by: Shannon Goldman

Written by: Tony Spiridakis

Cast: Dimitri Spiridakis, Rob Hancock, Ariel Eliaz, Geoffrey Owens, George Bamford, Jennifer Bassey, Michael Nouri, Tony Spiridakis

Inspired by raising a son with Autism, Writer-Actor Tony Spiridakis tells a poignant story about a struggling Hollywood filmmaker who is determined to show the world that an autistic kid can do anything and wants to make a film that stars an autistic actor. In the process, he discovers that he is torn between two worlds - his career in Hollywood and obligations in his hometown Greenport NY - where he must return to help his elderly parents. From one good deed, calamity ensues. This heartfelt dramedy explores a common life conundrum: ambition, family and how to balance it all. Starring Dimitri Spiridakis (Tony's son with Autism) as 'Danny.

Interview:

Shannon Goldman is co-founder of Rockville Pictures, a New York-based production company, and a long-time filmmaking collaborator of Tony Spiridakis. For over 15 years, the two have worked together on various projects including Ash Tuesday, an audience favorite at the Tribeca Film Festival; and Noise, Grand Jury Prize winner at Florida and New Orleans Film Festivals. Shannon produced his first feature Lost Prophet in 1992, and followed his passion by directing, editing and/or producing five more feature length films, many of which debuted at top film festivals and were released to critical acclaim. He contributed as an early advisor regarding the formation of Manhattan Film Institute, and now teaches filmmaking at the school and serves on MFI's Board of Directors. Through Rockville, Shannon directs, edits and produces commercials and brand films for some of the top fashion retail companies in the country. He is also the co-creator of the award-winning television show Lunkerville, which airs in over 120 million homes internationally. Born and raised in Manhattan, Shannon now lives and works on the North Fork with his wife and creative partner, Deb.

Interview conducted by Jeff Ayars, TV Pilots Curator


Q: What’s your background & how did you get started?
I started filmmaking on the streets of NYC – total guerilla-style. That indie-grit taught me a lot about how to get things done. Over the years I’ve honed my craft, but those early years laid the foundation and still inform my work today.
I am the co-founder of Rockville Pictures, a New York-based production company, and a long-time filmmaking collaborator of Tony Spiridakis. For over 15 years, we worked together on various projects including ASH TUESDAY, an audience favorite at the Tribeca Film Festival; and NOISE, Grand Jury Prize winner at Florida and New Orleans Film Festivals. I produced my first feature LOST PROPHET in 1992, and followed my passion by directing, editing and/or producing five more feature length films, many of which debuted at top film festivals and were released to critical acclaim. I contributed as an early advisor regarding the formation of Manhattan Film Institute, and now teach filmmaking at the school and serve on MFI's Board of Directors. Through Rockville, I direct, edit and produce commercials and brand films for some of the top fashion retail companies in the country. I am also the co-creator of the award-winning television show LUNKERVILLE, which airs in over 120 million homes internationally. Born and raised in Manhattan, it is especially meaningful to be screening GREENPORT at the NYC Independent Film Festival.

Q: What inspires you to create?
I think that is an interesting and difficult question for people who “create” on a regular basis to answer. My first instinct is to say “because I love telling stories” or “that I love the craft of filmmaking”, but the truth is (and I think most creative folks would say the same thing) how do you NOT create? It’s in my nature to be engaged, to investigate, to build things… if you’re doing that all day long, each and every day, you usually end up creating something.

Q: What advice do you have for indie creators on a budget?
Often times, I find that restrictions lead to creative solutions. So my advice would be to just go out and make stuff that fits whatever budget you have. If you keep creating, you will hone your craft and your overall creative vision will come into focus. Bigger budgets will follow as a result.

Q: What makes your project special?
Two words - Dimitri Spiridakis. As far as we know, GREENPORT is the only show out there highlighting autism that features an autistic actor playing an autistic character … and he happens to be an amazingly talent actor. I think Dimitri’s participation in this project makes a big statement by doing what the film actually boasts - showing the world that an autistic kid can do anything.

Greenport is an Official Selection of the 2018 NYC Independent Film Festival.