(Courtesy of George Pogatsia, Director, Writer and Star of “Family On Board”)
The big news coming out of the New York City International Film Festival (“NYCIFF”) is that “Family on Board” and “Malan Breton: A Journey to Taiwan” were submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a 2016 Oscar consideration.
“Family on Board” won in every category the short film was nominated in. It picked up three NYCIFF awards for Best Narrative Short Film USA, Best Director in a Narrative Short, and Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Short Narrative Film.
You can read more about the short film Here and Here.
Congratulations to everyone that was a part of “Family on Board.” If you get an opportunity to see it, it is a must see. This short is the type of production that sticks with you long after you have seen it. You will constantly be wondering about the fate of Mike Petito. It will leave you with questions on whether a hero trying to save someone deserves to be thrown in prison. It will also teach you a life lesson about staying true to yourself no matter what the circumstances are.
Kudos to George Pogatsia. He created a masterpiece which (hopefully) is the beginning of a much bigger masterpiece down the line.
We’ll keep you updated on the film’s journey to Oscar night.
Opening up the NYCIFF gala on Thursday night was a heartbreaking film short from George Pogatsia called “Family on Board,” a story of a man who attempts to help save his neighbor who is being abducted after a burglary in their home. What could be seen as being a heroic moment, he gets the book thrown at him by the justice system as he is portrayed as a violent vigilante and is sentenced to five years in prison.
Being a family man, he is forced to leave his wife and two children. Because of the honorable circumstances surrounding the events of that night, the judge allows him to have a month with his family to get his affairs in order before he is ordered to report to prison.
The events that follow on that morning he reports to prison are the few short minutes that will leave you heartbroken.
Mr. Pogatsia was kind enough to do a short email interview for PerfectionistWannabe.com.
1. What was the inspiration behind the story? Was it based on a true story?
I read a story a while back about a man in Texas who called 911 about 2 guys burglarizing his neighbor’s home. He ended up shooting and killing both. He never recieved any jail time. It made me think, what if this happened in New York City? Also, I was living in downtown Manhattan on 9/11. The towers falling actually woke me from bed and I had a friend who was scheduled to report to prison downtown on 9/11 … I threw those stories into a pot, I sprinkled in my imagination and mixed it up. I came out with Family on Board.
2. While we take a look at the conflict between hero vs. vigilante, the main part of this story is about a man who has to leave his family. We see an outstanding citizen who was trying to do the right thing, but the court has decided differently and he has to leave his family. The irony of this story is that even though he was turning himself in, you have to wonder just what would have happened if he was asked to turn himself in on 9/12/2001 rather than 9/11/2001. He wasn’t just leaving his family for 5 years. He was saying goodbye to them forever. He was able to get those last moments with them that morning, something not too many people were able to do. Why did you choose to write the story this way?
On 9/12 Mike Petito would have reported to prison to serve out his jail sentence. I chose to tell the story this way because I enjoy having the audience participate. I like developing characters they can relate to and care about. I try get them invested in their lives then have them theorize on what happened in the end. Did he leave forever? I hope to provoke thought and discussion. Almost like thinking about an old love and what may have become of them.
3. Will this eventually be turned into a full feature film?
I’m developing a feature version of Family on Board. Tony Sirico (“The Sopranos”) is a big supporter of the project, his role will be considerably larger in the feature. Oscar winner John Avildsen (“Rocky”) wants to direct.
If you get a chance to see this film, I highly suggest seeing it. I contemplated leaving when I realized the day…9/11/01. I didn’t know how far he would take the actual events occurring in that moment. 9/11/01 was a real nightmare that many of us had to live through and haven’t quite healed from. But luckily, the story quickly changed to post-9/11 and I was glued to my seat in those next couple of minutes. It left you questioning just what happened to Mike Petito that day.
I would love to see this as a full feature film, especially with the same cast of characters. It’s a story that will keep you wondering long after you’ve stepped out of the theater.
NYCIFF will host their Awards ceremony on Thursday, May 7, 2015.
During its opening night gala, with actors and directors out on the red carpet for the launch of the festival, the two main features were a film short called “Family on Board” directed by George Pogatsia and the feature film “Phantom Halo” directed by Antonia Bogdanovich.
On the second night of the festival, William Shatner graced himself on the red carpet to showcase his new documentary “Chaos on the Bridge,” the chaotic tale of what it took to bring “Star Trek: The Next Generation” to a television screen.
Fashion designer Malan Breton was also in attendance both nights. He’s at NYCIFF to present his new film “A Journey to Taiwan.”
Family On Board
Tony Sirico (“Sopranos”) stars in “Family on Board.” He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Matthew Cowles, who also stars, received the award posthumously.
George Pogatsia not only directed, but also starred in this sad tale about a misjudged hero. He was in attendance at the gala on Thursday night.
Here is a clip from the film:
The film leaves you with a lot of questions about more than just what happened. It makes you question whether it’s right for a hero the court has deemed as a vigilante to end up in prison just for saving someone’s life. It’s also about a hero staying true to who he is no matter what the circumstances are.
This short film is a must see.
Phantom Halo stars Sebastian Roché (“The Originals,” “Supernatural,” “Once Upon a Time”), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (“Love Actually,” “The Maze Runner”) and Rebecca Romijn (“X-Men”).
Sebastian attended the gala with his wife Alicia Hannah. Clare Grant (who also stars), Antonia Bogdanovich (co-writer, director) and Anne Heffron (co-writer) also attended.
Here are a few takes from the Q&A:
The story is very reflective of the co-writers childhoods and upbringing.
There is a reference to a ‘pound of flesh,’ but don’t mistake it for a “Merchant of Venice” reference, even though Shakespeare quotes appear throughout the movie, it is purely Anne Heffron’s take on people calling her Asian daughter ‘Chinese,’ when she’s actually Korean.
Heffron is a master of writing male lines.
At the end, Roché and the panel discussed what acting means in an independent film. You’re not doing it for the money in an indie film. You are doing it for the pure passion of what you love, so you bring your A-game to every scene. It’s about the passion of the art.
Gbenga Akinnagbe is not African (like his name would suggest). He is an American, born in Washington, DC. He spent some time living in Mexico. He was not originally cast in the role of Roman. There was another actor cast, but he did not work out.
Roman uses an English accent (like Roché does), but this was a fluke. Roman was not originally a British character. It came about after they were messing around on set.
Even though Thomas Brodie-Sangster speaks in an American accent, it was very important to Bogdanovich that they cast a British actor.
Chaos On The Bridge
William Shatner’s newest documentary is “Chaos on the Bridge.” A movie about the chaos that went into bringing “Star Trek: The Next Generation” to life and into the homes of every American.
If you are a Star Trek fan or even a TNG fan, this is a must see. It will give you a whole brand new perspective of what it meant to create TNG…the chaos that went into it is just unbelievable. Not only is it visually stimulating, but it is absolutely hilarious as well.
Shatner was in attendance both on the red carpet and after the feature to do a Q&A.
Here’s a glimpse at his new film:
Shatner’s next project includes taking a little road trip on his new motorcycle and filming it. NOTE: This isn’t just any kind of motorcycle. You really need to see it.
Fashion designer Malan Breton was in attendance for both the opening night gala and Shatner’s film on Friday night. The designer was at NYCIFF to showcase his new film “Malan Breton a Journey to Taiwan.”
He showcased many of his beautiful designs prior to the film, which was shown prior to the gala on Thursday night.
As you can see in the pictures here (from William Shatner’s night), he wears one of his designs.
Here’s a glimpse of his moment at NYCIFF:
Other glimpses from NYCIFF
Here are a few pictures from the first two days at NYCIFF.