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A young photographer confronts the idea of being a man in New England's bada-bing culture of working class Italian Americans.
A young photographer confronts the idea of being a man in New England's bada-bing culture of working class Italian Americans.
141 backers pledged $10,006 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Iron Wall is a film set in working class New England about how we identify with masculinity and how that shapes homophobia. 

There's an invisible boundary that we've created; a wall that separates us, built out of fear, conformity, competition, and isolation. That's the iron wall.
There's an invisible boundary that we've created; a wall that separates us, built out of fear, conformity, competition, and isolation. That's the iron wall.

We've built up barriers to fulfill the roles we assume as men. Growing up we learn to never cry, to be self-reliant, always be number one, never appear feminine, don't be overly affectionate, etc... We’ve been taught to be a gender of silent emotions, but why? That’s the core of the film; to reconsider the culture of masculinity. 

Jamoke Slang: A term of endearment. A blue-collar male typically of an East Coast derivation, burly and boisterous.

 
 

This project lives and breathes New England. From the contractors playing horseshoes at Labor Day picnics, the firefighters singing the night away to Springsteen, the cops playing Bocce at backyard birthday parties, the construction workers stacking up trays of "cawffee" from Dunkin' Donuts, the Italians rolling out "meatbawls" for Sunday dinner, the Poles lining up outside Wozniak’s for Kielbasa on Easter Sunday, the jamokes crushing hot wieners at the system, to the hometown heroes slamming 40’s in parking lots behind the package stores in ‘Staven. From Joey bag a’ donuts to Vinnie Boombatz, to Mikey, Paulie, Tony, Jerry, Nicky, Franky, Bobby all the way down to this freakin’ guy right ‘ere, yours truly.

The freakin’ bawls on this prick, eh?
The freakin’ bawls on this prick, eh?

New England is where I grew up, and will always be my home. It’s not my intention to be critical but self-reflective, these are all people I know and love very much.

I'm a film maker based in LA that makes anything from absurdist art films to post apocalyptic sci-fi's. I've always tried to make work that's personal, but this project hits somewhere that really resonates. Every time I dig further into another part of the story, it just keeps going deeper. It's weird when you find it, it's like your pulling at these strings that connect to a place so deep you can feel it shake you at your core. 

Question: Would you be afraid of people thinking you’re gay?

Many of us, myself included at one point, would say yes. I first realized this while talking to a friend, which is where the idea for this project came from. We had been talking about a developing script, and I mentioned this arbitrary idea involving homosexuality. I reasoned that it would have been interesting, but it wasn’t really my story. I also found that I was hesitant. I was afraid of people I knew seeing it and thinking it was my story. To that my friend said, “Well that’s interesting.”

Why did I feel this way? So what if it were my story? I know so many people that identify with genders and orientations differently than I do, many of which are very dear to me. How could I possibly be truthful in accepting them as they are if I was not able to accept myself in the same way?

That didn’t seem fair.  

I grew up in a small farm town in Connecticut where I cannot remember one person in high school who was openly gay. How can we expect people from a community like that to understand or empathize with those who have had such a different experience from their own?

It wasn’t until I moved to the city and met people that identified differently than I did that I was able to gain more of an understanding of their experience. It was through just getting to know people that I was able to grow.

Many can't just uproot themselves like that though, and herein lies the beauty of storytelling through film. We can give people a way to experience the lives of others that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to. In turn, that experience can inspire a change within us. 

 

 


The Iron Wall
is the story of Dave (23), a New Englander working construction for his Dad, Raymond. Try as he might, he doesn’t really fit in with his coworkers, but he was able to find something for himself in photography. Through the camera, he examines the world around him and tries to find a place he belongs.

During the late drunken hours after a family party, Dave’s friend and coworker Sean (22) makes a move on him. Caught off guard, Dave tries to turn him down without damaging their friendship, but by chance Raymond sees them. Now that his parents suspect he’s gay, Dave realizes for the first time how afraid he is of being seen as such. He decides that the only thing to do would be to start acting really macho to prove to everyone how much of a man he really is, which wildly backfires damaging his friendships and sense of self.

Now more than ever, Dave has to discover who he is and what he stands for.

 


CAST

The list will be updated as we continue casting.

The $10,000 goal will get the film made and released for free online. 

 

Crew. Most are people I know from CalArts and AFI. Luckily we're able to crew for each other's films which is great because it helps keep the cost down, since we're filming on location in CT and RI I need to drag them all here from LA. 

Equipment. This is the fun stuff. We'll either be shooting on a Red or an Alexa, which just depends on an equipment grant. The kickstarter funds would provide lighting/sound/grip equipment from local rental houses. A lot of this will probably come from BarnDoor Lighting in North Branford, which going there feels like such a mind bender to me because they're in the exact same space in the same building that my daycare was in when I was a just tiny meatball. 

Locations. Most of the places we're shooting I know from growing up so a lot of these will be provided as favors, but this part of the budget will help us access the ones that are not.

Art Department. This is for wardrobe and makeup and props and all the things that will make the people and places look fancy!

Cast. These guys are gonna make magic happen.

Fees. This goes back to kickstarter. They're awesome for making projects like this possible! 

FOR MORE INFO AND UPDATES, CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE:

 


 

Risks and challenges

The reality of this project is that $10,000 is not a lot to produce a 30 minute film, but that's fine. My last big project was a 20 minute post-apocalyptic sci-fi which came together for less than $4k, the key is really maximizing every dollar. Lots of sifting through thrift shops, trading favors, and etc... It's like those time/money/quality triangles, if you don't have the money you just take the extra time to figure out a way to do it right on the cheap.

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Funding period

- (30 days)