Former West Haven resident and filmmaker Lisa Marie Tedesco has finished principal photography on her third independent film that was shot on location on the Southern Connecticut State University campus at the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts in early April.
The film, entitled SPIN, was by the filmmaker “A true testament of what could be safely produced in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic that has raged the state and country for over a year.”
Tedesco, a senior at SCSU in the Cinema and Media Studies department, presented an independent study outline and was granted permission to execute the film on site.
Using Lyman as the central location of the film, Tedesco transformed the theatre into her own personal Hollywood sound stage, enlisting the help of a full production design crew to design and build a set.
“I knew I had the itch and the need to get back on set,” said Tedesco. “But I also wanted to make sure we could effectively put a production on with a smaller budget and also keep everyone safe during the current Covid-19 pandemic.”
Tedesco’s initial shoot dates were placed on temporary hold when a Covid scare upset her plans. It turned out to be a false positive test result and shooting resumed two weeks later.
“We took a chance and that chance has this consequence. I will always take the safety and health of my cast and crew seriously,” said Tedesco. “So, I did what I had to do and shut it down immediately.”
Once plans were figured out with the location and cast and crew being re-tested, shooting resumed several weeks later. Tedesco wrapped Easter weekend of this year.
Spin follows high school drama club seniors Abigail (Courtney St. Gelais) and Sky (Sierra Berkeley Fisher) as they say their final farewells to the stage they loved over four years, while letting their desires for one another surface at the cast party.
Their final moment together is continuously interrupted by fellow senior Jordan (JahDey Wright) who obliviously must always remain in the spotlight.
The film draws upon her political views, which she says pervades much of the opus.
“I actually wrote this in a couple hours. I knew I wanted to make something Shakespeare-voice-over heavy that also included a queer storyline,” said Tedesco. “I represent the LGBTQ community in every little thing I do. Representation Matters and I wanted my third film to have that thrust upon the screen, she said
This is not the first time her views on sexuality and politics tinted her work.
“My other films are also queer and it’s very important to have authentic stories for people in our community to identify with. With the two leads [St. Gelais and Fisher] I found it incredibly easy to direct and work with them. They’re both lovely and talented actors with extensive Shakespeare training,” she said.
Spin is now in post-production and is set to make a limited film festival run before heading to streaming services.
To learn more, go to www.ladyfilmmedia.com.
Tedesco is a 2004 graduate of West Haven High School, and has wanted to attend a school with a film department. With graduation soon, she will realize that long dream.