Local Filmmaker Shot Debut In East Queens
By Joe Marvilli
Eastern Queens may not be the first neighborhood you think of when it comes to film shoots. For Elena Mugdan, her home neighborhoods served as the perfect location to create a feature length movie.
The film from the life-long Little Neck resident was shot around her home turf, in areas including Douglaston, Great Neck and Little Neck.
“Because the film is semi-autobiographical, there was a certain poetic justice in filming in my place of lifelong residence,” Mugdan said.
“Let’s Make A Movie” follows the life of Cassie Thompson, a college dropout who is tired of being downtrodden and tries to turn her life around by making a movie. The problems come from both trying to finance the film and from her neurotic cast and crew.
The film takes its inspiration from Mugdan’s own experiences. Like the movie’s protagonist, Mugdan suffered through an unpaid internship where she was assigned to menial tasks.
“I realized that I was going nowhere and that I wasn’t happy,” she said. “I asked myself what would make me happy, and the answer was obvious: making a movie.”
When the film made its way through the festival circuit in 2010, it received many accolades, such as the Indie Spirit Award from the Boston International Film Festival in 2011.
The project’s success is a giant step for Mugdan, who has been drawn to movies for many years.
“I am drawn to storytelling, and film, I’ve found, is the best and most engaging way for me to tell a story,” she said.
“Let’s Make A Movie” was written, produced and directed by Mugdan. Out of the three roles, production was the most challenging for her, as she was responsible for scheduling, finding locations and paying the cast and crew. Directing offered a far more satisfying experience.
For the future, Mudgen is raising funds a for science-fiction tale titled “Paradox.”
“I’d need to raise $1.5 million to produce it the way it deserves to be made, she said. “I already have a distributor lined up, so public release is guaranteed!”
“Let’s Make A Movie” can be purchased from the movie’s official website, http://www.lets-make-a-movie.com. The Blu-ray will be available on March. 1.