Hamptons!... Summer!... Love!... What could possibly go wrong? Recent college graduate Matt Lynch (Michael Dougherty) romances 17-year-old Abby Smythe (Lexi Lapp). Their relationship is put to the test when a July 4th beach party ends with a vicious sexual assault, causing their relationship to implode. Their families, friends, and an entire Hamptons community are affected by this senseless act. What unravels is "LOVE & EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN"!
Interview with: Actor, Producer, and Writer Michael Dougherty
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
As a younger actor in New York and then in Los Angeles, I studied the business of filmmaking and realized that if I was going to have a secure future in the film business that I would have to create my own business, so I organized Hampton Filmworks and began to create and write screenplays for my own projects, including "Love & Everything In Between" (LEIB)
I was born and raised in Southampton, New York, so it was quite natural for me to return home from L.A. and choose this beautiful setting for a suspenseful romance/drama that was developing in my imagination as 'Romeo & Juliet in the Hamptons' but with a twist that would surely impact the plotline and test the young lovers' commitment. I initially completed the core screenplay in three weeks in June 2015 and fine-tuned the script by year's end. In January 2016, we hired a line producer, who determined that LEIB could be produced in the Hamptons and within our budget, and so we launched and never looked back!
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Location! Location! Location!... 'The Hamptons' has a global appeal to moviegoers and LEIB is a cinematic treat for the eyes with spectacular drone shots and scenery of the Hamptons and Montauk that - and I say this with all humility - has never been achieved before in previous Hamptons' films. In our first film festival, the Culver City Film Festival in Los Angeles, California, the judges agreed; we garnered the "Best Cinematography" award. While your eyes are being dazzled by the scenery, story, and character development, the romance/drama unfolds unexpectedly into a romance/thriller that never stops moving while accompanied by an outstanding musical score that appeals to all generations.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Personally, I am passionate about the world in which I was born and raised. Even though the indie film marketplace seems to prefer vampires, zombies, and comic book heroes over classic romances, like "Romeo & Juliet", I wanted to personally convey a love story, a romance/drama in the Hamptons.
Filmmaking theorizes that a final film cut ultimately has three influencers: the writer, the director, and the editor, so I was certainly very involved in influencing the filmmaking process from concept to final cut. However, I didn't initially foresee a universal theme developing around the assault itself. Apparently that universal theme was recognized by many viewers who foresaw the film as an introspective learning experience that perhaps gave recognition to the universe's desire for us to address sexual assault awareness. Personally, as the author, actor/protagonist, and an editor, I never saw this coming!
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
When I initially wrote the screenplay, my producer-partner Dad, read it and said "Son, you have written 'The Graduate' for the Millennial Generation." I had never heard of or seen 'The Graduate' at that time. Both films feature a recent college graduate trying to find himself, complimented by a beautiful music score, but the similarities end there.
(Ironically, "The Graduate" was released in December 1967, exactly 50 years before the release of "Love & Everything In Between.")
The 'Sexual Assault Awareness' aspect of LEIB seems to have taken on a life of its own that I had not anticipated until the February 2016 Oscars that featured Vice President Joe Biden who advocated for victims of sexual assault and introduced a powerful performance by Lady Gaga that featured survivors of sexual abuse. I realized then that I needed to rely on the creative input of the women, who were already part of our production team, to address the sexual assault issue appropriately and with great care.
As the actor/protagonist I could empathize with, but not fully comprehend, Abby as a victim and the crisis that the assault had created in her life. As Abby's romantic interest, Matt, I had to draw on the pain and loss that Matt and everyone in the story also suffered. However, I had to research true stories of assault survivors to even remotely understand what Abby was experiencing. As Abby said in a climactic scene, "You have no idea how I feel!"
My top priority in pre-production was to bring Producer and Editor Gabriela Tollman on board to direct the film but a last minute scheduling conflict sent us scurrying to replace her less than two weeks before our opening shoot date. I personally made over 100 calls to women directors in the New York area and they were all busy with other commitments. Fortunately, Jeremiah Kipp stepped up to the plate, and he had an on-set gentleness and discernment that set the tone for the assault scene that viewers find unsettling, yet necessary to convey the story and to raise a conscious awareness of the evilness of sexual assault.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
There is one word that continuously surfaces from viewers "Amazing!" A sure sign that LEIB had made a significant effect on viewers was the consistent feedback from many viewers that the story and the music stayed with them days later. I often heard "I can't get the music (or the story) out of my head!"
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I never intended to create a controversial film, but so it is, much to my surprise. The controversial aspect of the film became obvious in test screenings that we held at several Hampton libraries. At these events, college students wanted to know if they could bring LEIB to their campuses as a teaching or learning tool for students. As a result, we have developed SAAFEProgram.org to provide public service screenings for colleges and universities, particularly during "April 2018: Sexual Assault Awareness Month".
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
In one word as a first time filmmaker, recognition - recognition among my peers within the film industry.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
All of the above. Under the Hampton Filmworks banner, this is the first of a number of projects that we have slated. Producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists are all essential to amplify the film's message. Additionally, we are seeking college and university students, faculty, and administrators to bring LEIB to college campuses, particularly in "April 2018: Sexual Assault Awareness Month" through Tugg.com and Tugg.edu.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
As a filmmaker, I appreciate when the audience response strikes a chord - a balance between a moving millennial generation love story and a universal awareness message that make LEIB controversial, especially in the times in which we collectively find ourselves.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Can "Love & Everything In Between" provide an opportunity for its viewers to reflect upon the damage caused by sexual assault, resulting in either a personal or group action plan? College viewers tell us they believe so. The damage is not only to the immediate victim of the assault, but also to the victim's family members and friends, as well as to the aggressor's family members and friends; an entire community is affected by sexual assault. The question remains to be determined: Will college-age viewers, in particular, be less likely to engage in risky behaviors that could lead to sexual assault after viewing LEIB? Initial feedback from college students would indicate so.
Would you like to add anything else?
Through SAAFEProgram.org, we are developing online resources and supporting materials for viewers and encouraging audience participation in Q&A sessions to be held following screenings at college and university campuses. (Visit www.SAAFEPROGRAM.org for further information.)
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
We have a number of projects and several episodic series in various stages of development to be filmed primarily in the Hamptons and Los Angeles with several projects having locations in New York City, Palm Beach, South Beach, Washington DC, the Cayman Islands, and other locations. My personal next feature film preference is "THE BUTTERFLY & THE BUTCHER", a colorful-character crime drama to be filmed primarily in the Los Angeles Artist and Warehouse Districts. Followed by a paranormal love story to be shot on location on Shelter Island, New York. However, film financing and future producer/partner relationships may determine the scheduling of our next projects.
Interview: December 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
love & everything in between
Hamptons!... Summer!... Love!... What could possibly go wrong? Recent college graduate Matt Lynch (Michael Dougherty) romances 17-year-old Abby Smythe (Lexi Lapp). Their relationship is put to the test when a July 4th beach party ends with a sexual assault, causing their relationship to implode. What unravels is "LOVE & EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN"!
Director: Jeremiah Kipp
Producers: Michael Dougherty, Ginnie Kearns, Naomi Hogarty, Gabriella Tollman, and Ned Dougherty
Writer: Michael Dougherty
About the writer and producer:
Michael Dougherty was born on April 7, 1991 in Southampton, NY. He grew up in the Hamptons and began acting at a young age appearing in school plays at Our Lady of the Hamptons. He recalls: "In fifth grade, I was cast as Bobby Darin and sang the hit song 'Mack the Knife' before a crowded auditorium. When I heard the applause, I knew I found my passion - to act and to entertain people."
Michael studied at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City; The Art of Acting - Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles; The Ivana Chubbuck Studio in Los Angeles; and Studio4 in North Hollywood. In addition to a variety of film and television roles, he has a vast amount of diverse stage credits in Los Angeles theatres. Michael is a SAG-AFTRA member who divides his time between New York and Los Angeles.
About the director:
Jeremiah Kipp's directing credits include "Black Wake" starring Tom Sizemore; "Pickup" starring Jim True-Frost; "Edward Albee: A Transformative Moment" starring Mercedes Ruehl and Bill Irwin; "The Sadist" starring Tom Savini; "The Pod" starring Larry Fessenden; "Contact" (commissioned by Sinister Six annual screening series); "The Days God Slept"; "Easy Prey" (commissioned by NYC's annual VisionFest) ; and "The Apartment" (commissioned by Canon to premiere their XL2 at DV Expo 2004). Producing credits include the feature films "Satan Hates You" (created by Glass Eye Pix, starring Angus Scrimm, Michael Berryman and Reggie Bannister); "In Montauk"; "The Jonestown Defense" starring Amy Seimetz; and "The Bed-Thing" (directed by Pulitzer Prize-nominated Matt Zoller Seitz).
Key cast: Michael Dougherty, Lexi Lapp, Nick Gregory, Angela Pierce, and introducing Mikaela Happas
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): All of the above; either for a business arrangement or for networking and publicity.
Social media handles:
"Hampton Filmworks": https://www.facebook.com/Hampton-Filmworks-1074308879370308/
Funders: Family and friends
Made in association with: Hampton Filmworks
Where can I watch it NEXT AND IN THE COMING MONTHS?
Film Festival screenings and other screening notices are available at:: www.hamptonfilmworks.com Please sign-up for our email alerts with your zip code to be notified of screenings near you.
Sexual Misconduct Allegations Top 2017 AP Poll - USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2017/12/21/sexual-misconduct-allegations-top-2017-ap-poll/108809818/... The wave of sexual misconduct allegations that toppled Hollywood power brokers, politicians, media icons and many others was the top news story of 2017 , according to The Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and
US colleges under the spectre of sexual assault | USA | Al Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/09/colleges-spectre-sexual-assault-170918081349772.htmlSep 19, 2017 ... While the vast majority of sexual assaults are not reported, the number of recorded incidents on college campuses jumped from 4,000 in 2012 to 5,000 in ... "because no one wants to be on the front fold of the newspaper, basically being accused of harboring rapists, so it really skewed the process news directors. (Dec. 21)
At Oscars, VP Joe Biden and Lady Gaga spotlight sexual assault
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-awards-oscars-biden-idUSKCN0W20CMFeb 28, 2016 ... U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden introduces singer Lady Gaga after making a plea to prevent sexual abuse at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni. Biden came on stage to rousing applause, quipping “I'm the least