Drexel Hill actor and producer Drew Seltzer will be bringing his acclaimed film to the Philadelphia area for the first time next weekend.
“Leaving Circadia”, executive produced by Seltzer, will be the opening night selection at the FirstGlance Film Festival at the Franklin Institute on Oct. 17.
“I’m hoping we’re gonna get a big turnout,” said Seltzer. “It always helps when you’re screening in a town that you’re from to get that kind of support.”
Primarily set in a Brooklyn brownstone apartment building, the light-hearted comedy follows a group of late 20-somethings who seem stuck in a post-college rut dealing with work, relationships and life’s new responsibilities.
(Read my review here)
(Read my review here)
Director and screenwriter Evan Mathew Weinstein plays the incredibly likeable main character Tom, the superintendent of the building who begins to fall for the beautiful new tenant Collette (Larisa Polonsky). Meanwhile, Ray, played by Seltzer, is dealing with the pressures of finding a stable job, and the idea of being a parent and a husband.
The film’s title refers to the body’s circadian rhythm, our 24-hour biological cycle that tells us when to get up, when we eat and when to sleep. “Leaving Circadia” is about breaking away from our normal routines to explore other things we have not yet.
Before coming to Philadelphia, “Leaving Circadia” has been having successful turns on the festival circuit, winning three prizes after premiering in the Emerge Film Festival in Maine in June: best film in festival, best director and the Verizon’s People’s Choice Award.
The film picked up a best actress award for Polonsky at the Long Beach Film Festival in August before heading to the Village of Brewster Film Festival and the New Jersey Film Festival, hosted at the star’s alma mater Rutgers University.
Before screening at Emerge, Seltzer claims to have seen the film “400 times” and was having his doubts about it, believing it was a low budget film that wasn’t going anywhere.
“When we had the talk back and you could hear the passion in people’s voice and how enthusiastic they were about how they liked it I thought, ‘I think we have a good footing here’. And then when we got the awards it was very humbling,” said Seltzer.
Seltzer cut his acting chops in theater even before graduating from Penncrest High School in 1999, appearing in shows at the Hedgerow Theater in Rose Valley and the Colonial Theater in Aldan. He continued acting at Rutgers University where he would meet his fellow “Leaving Circadia” actors Weinstein, Zack Griffiths and Regi Huc, a Bryn Mawr native who helped establish the film’s production company Main Line Films with Seltzer.
The film borrows from the actors lives post-college, as they each went on to do their own acting projects, including Seltzer who worked on stage and in film when based in New York City and Los Angeles before returning to Delco this year. "Leaving Circadia” was slated to be the group’s big break, according to Seltzer.
“We knew that we needed to make our own breaks in (New York City). “(Weinstein’s) written a bunch of short films that we all shot ourselves, but this was the first feature length film that he was working on. We were all collaborative on it… he wrote it all based on who we are as people, so it’s very close to us,” said Seltzer.
Filming took place in Brooklyn and Atlantic City between June and September 2011. A lengthy post-production period followed and after a screening for friends and family, the film was edited down from two hours to 87 minutes.
Although the film may resonate with college graduates going into their ‘30s with some uncertainty, Seltzer said the film’s message has been crossing generations.
“There’s not a lot of films taking a look at people in their ‘30s who are still sleeping on their parent’s couches and the career they went to college for isn’t necessarily panning out… it’s a film commenting on that genre of people, and I think it relates to a lot of people.
“We’ve done talk backs after each screening and a lot of the older crowd including those in their ‘60s and ‘70s say they remember being in that stage. People think it’s relatable to all generations,” said Seltzer.
Seltzer will continue to screen his film at film festivals after FirstGlance to try to pick up a distribution deal, hoping to break into some of the big film festivals like Sundance. Until then, Seltzer has no immediate plans to produce any more films.
“This process has been pretty intense. It kind of depends if all three of us (with Weinstein and Huc) are going to do a project again together, it depends on the success of this,” said Seltzer.
The FirstGlance Philadelphia Festival runs Oct. 17 through Oct. 19. “Leaving Circadia” will open the festival on Friday night at the Franklin Institute’s Franklin Theater at 7:45 p.m. For tickets and schedule information go to http://firstglancefilms.com/tickets/.