Embarking on indie feature film

Ben Proulx gets behind the camera for a film project.

By Shayne Toscano

A Fitchburg State College student and an alumnus are taking their vision of an independent, feature-length film into their own hands and utilizing the local landscapes as the background.

The duo is looking to enlist the help of FSC film/video majors.  Students can gain hands-on experience and receive credits by getting permission from the professor to do an independent study.

Ben Proulx takes the direct approach to filmmaking.

Producer and Director Ben Proulx and Director of Photography Brian Way are looking for production assistants, microphone and sound designers, hair designers, choreographers, costume-makers with sewing experience, and extras. “Basically, any skills that would be an attribute to the film would be greatly appreciated,” Proulx said.

Their film, “The Visionary,” is about an 11-year-old autistic girl named Ava who is pushed into the gritty world of film production by her widowed mother, Rita. As this dark film progresses we see the director, Daniel, who makes it his goal to win Rita over, starting a slow, delusional spiral.

The mission statement of “The Visionary” explains that it will “Authentically exhibit the range of the medical and psychological phenomenon, from autism to group-thinking. The concepts attached to the story are geared to raise awareness and heavily inspire sophisticated, individual thinking.”

“We did all of our casting in Panera Bread,” Way said. “We scheduled in blocks that would go on from about 9 to 5.”

Proulx added, “We’ve cast over 50 actors, and we are really happy with the cast. One of our actors, Melissa McMeekin, has a principal role in an upcoming biopic, the ‘The Fighter,’ working alongside such A-list actors as Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg.”

“The Visionary” is already moving forward into production. They will start shooting the 120- page script soon, and hope to have it released by mid-summer alongside “The Fighter.”

The two filmmakers plan to shoot much of this film within the Boston area. Proulx explained the advantages of filming locally. For him, making an independent film for the first time means utilizing the talents of friends and contacts, along with the accessible resources in the community. It is very much a grassroots production.

“In Massachusetts, as opposed to Los Angeles, people are happy to let you film in their establishments; they’re excited to be involved,” Proulx said. “Locality allows you to film on a tight budget.”

For more info about the film and its progress, visit http://www.benproulx.blogspot.com

Anyone interested can contact Proulx, by email: proulxproductions@yahoo.com or phone: (603)759-6419

The filmmakers say they would greatly appreciate the use of vintage items such as 1960s lamps, carpets, photo frames, clothes, décor, appliances. They could also use headsets (headphones with microphone attached), extra cable wire, extension cords, tents and trailers.

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