By: Chuck Colbert/TRT Reporter
A gay New Hampshire native has written and directed his first feature-length movie – quite an accomplishment for 28-year-old man, Justin Scarelli of Hampstead who produced the independent film, Some Holiday, on a shoestring budget.
The film’s North Shore screening debut is set for Thursday, Nov. 4, at Cinema Salem. Director Scarelli is partnering with the North Shore Alliance for Gay & Lesbian Youth, NAGLY, as a benefit for the organization. He will be on hand for the occasion.
A labor of “love and passion,” Scarelli said, the hour-long movie is all about the lives of three young couples, two straight and one gay, all of them just starting out in life. Some Holiday chronicles the partners’ relationships, their navigation and negotiation of career aspirations and parental responsibilities.
Here’s a very brief synopsis: College sweethearts, Grace and Dan Allen are facing the unanticipated birth of their first child. Before getting married, Grace introduces her best friend Sam to Chris so that Sam won’t have to attend her wedding alone. The two gay men hit if off, but the plot line thickens when Sam learns Chris has a five-year old son. The third couple is Tracy and Miles, who are forced to give up their performing-artist life on the road when Tracy discovers she is expectant. In time, Tracy leaves Miles and her child to pursue Broadway career dreams. But guilt sets in and she weighs returning home, wondering all along if it is worth it.
“I’ve been a writer for most of my life,” Scarelli said during a recent telephone interview. Introducing a gay couple, he said, “I had never done that before,” explaining, “I had just come out, and that learning experience helped me to deal with characters who are gay. I really wanted to present them correctly.”
The title of the movie, Scarelli said, springs from the classic film Roman Holliday, starring Audrey Hepburn, a princess who escapes her real life and experiences a magical holiday in Rome, eventually returning home and assumers her responsibilities.
Some Holliday, he said, “is a lot about people trying to escape their reality – a married couple trying to get by, paying the bills. Now, along comes a baby, what are they doing to do?”
Scarelli said he is happy to partner with NAGLY. Is there a positive message for a gay audience? Indeed, he said. “Here is a representation of characters who – for lack of a better word – are regular guys, men who happen to be in a relationship with each other, but are real people.”
In other words, Scarelli continued, “They are people like me. I may not fit into a certain stereotype, but I have the same trials and tribulations,” hopes and dreams as anyone else.
The young writer and movie director said he did not set out to make a gay film. Yet, it was important to put Chris and Sam’s relationship into the forefront and treat the gay couple on “equal status.”
True enough, Scarelli added, “Their relationship is the strongest of all three because with five-year old Nathan at the center, Sam and Chris and the boy are going to have to be connected somehow.”
And yet, “Sam has the option to leave. They are not married and have been together about a year,” Scarelli explained. “Sam decides to stay and further their relationship. That speaks volumes. It’s more of a conscious choice.”
What did Scarelli learn about himself as a person and writer? “It’s important to be authentic in life and in my writing,” he said. “In my coming out process and as a director and individual,” Scarelli continued, “I’ve come to see that if you work at something in an honest way and deal with it with respect; you’ll end up with a new-found outlook.”
That’s a pretty good take-away message, too, for youth coming to terms with a differing sexual orientation or gender identity.
The film’s meet and greet at Cinema Salem will start at 8:30 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m., with discussion afterwards. Tickets for the event are $10 dollars and they can be purchased at the Cinema Salem website (www.cinemasalem.com) or by calling the box office (978) 744-1400. Proceeds will benefit NAGLY. For more information about the film, visit: www.surefinewhateverprod.com/