What to watch

 Ten films, ten compelling stories
By PHILIP EIL  |  May 22, 2013

THE CANDIDATE Carmen Castillo.

THE FILM: Councilwoman Castillo

THE FILMMAKER: Margo Guernsey (director)

THE STORY: Providence Ward 9 councilwoman Carmen Castillo is the first hotel housekeeper in Rhode Island — perhaps in the country — to hold elected office, Guernsey says. This film will follow her through the mazes and mechanics of city politics, but it also asks a deeper question: "Do things change when we change who we elect?"

THE STATUS: Guernsey plans to to continue shooting through the 2014 Providence City Council election. To help with costs, a $20,000 Kickstarter campaign is running through the end of May. The film's release is tentatively scheduled for 2016.


THE FILM:Run While You Can

THE FILMMAKER: Marion Mauran (director, producer)

THE STORY: When is a 2500-plus mile trek from the Canadian to the Mexican border on the Pacific Coast Trail a Rhode Island story? When Sam Fox — the man running more than a marathon a day to raise money for Parkinson's research in tribute to his mother — is a native Rhode Islander. And when the filmmakers trying to keep up with Fox in an RV are Rhode Islanders, too.

THE STATUS: The filmmakers scored a successful $15, 325 Kickstarter campaign during the summer of 2011. Their film is now in post-production, scheduled for completion in late summer 2013. Updates are at runwhileyoucanfilm.com.


 >> READ "The real Rhode Island" <<


THE FILM:Hope City

THE FILMMAKERS: David Angell (director, producer, director of photography), Roger Mulcahy Jr. (editor, producer)

THE STORY: Tents. Tarps. Tattered paperbacks. Canned soups. A rusty highway underpass. These are the items that Hope City uses to illustrate homelessness in Providence in 2009, when two tent cities — Hope City and Camp Runamuck — popped up in within shouting distance of downtown.

THE STATUS: The film has been edited down to feature length and, after last fall's successful $5000 Kickstarter, it's ready for a final color-grade. The filmmakers hope to launch Hope later in 2013.


THE FILM:Haven Brothers: Legacy of the American Diner

THE FILMMAKER: Jeff Toste (director)

THE STORY: "I come home smelling like French fries," Toste says of the hundreds of hours he's spent at the place an interviewee called the "Taj Mahal of Rhode Island." After mouthwatering shots of French fries burbling in oil and cheeseburgers sizzling on the griddle, you may smell that grease on your clothes, too.

THE STATUS: After a $25,000 Kickstarter failed last spring, Toste vowed to make the film between commercial gigs for car dealerships, landscaping companies, and other local businesses. He hopes for a 2014 release.


THE FILM:Pell Grants: A Passion for Education

THE FILMMAKERS: Steven Feinberg (director), Elyse Katz (producer)

THE STORY: Some people outside Rhode Island think the name "Pell" — as in, Federal Pell Grant Program — is an acronym, Steven Feinberg says. This film reveals the man and the story behind the grants.

THE STATUS: A $15,000 Kickstarter is currently underway, accompanied by a 23-minute rough cut of the film. A Rhody premiere is tentatively scheduled for summer 2013.

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