It is a moment in history after a major event and explores how civilians are affected by war and struggle to recreate their lives after tragic loss.
About The Project
Hi there. I’m Laura Sweeney and I’m a writer and director from Long Island, New York.
Across is an intimate story that takes place in 1949 New York about three young World War II widows and the main character Charlotte’s younger sister, Ruby who they take on a girls’ day trip on the eve of her wedding. It is a moment in history after a major event and explores how civilians are affected by war and struggle to recreate their lives after tragic loss.
I am excited to create a character driven piece with an all female cast and work on a period piece which takes place primarily in a car. It is a unique story because it looks at how our history both political and personal has the power to impact and inform our future. A major theme in the piece is hope and strength to move forward despite pain and fear. The two main characters are sisters and their relationship changes because of the hope that the younger sister brings. She goes from kid sister to guide, beacon and leader. People become bridges to link generations and to guide those most affected by war back into our society despite their wounds.
The vision for the project is a crisp visual with a muted color palette to conjure conflicting feelings of nostalgia and sobering reality. The soundscape will vary from harsh wheels and city roads to water splashing and crickets and stillness. I’m picturing for the car a 1948 Buick Convertible Super 8 in powder blue. Blue because the car will hold the emotions of the women and a convertible to underscore how we adapt and open to find freedom.
I’d like to submit this film to festivals. I believe it will succeed because it’s a story about female friendship and women driving our country forward.
Thank you for your time in considering this project. It’s a beautiful poignant story and I believe it will resonate in the hearts of many. Also, for my artistic growth, it feels like the correct next logical challenge to create a period piece with this dramatic depth and message of enduring hope.
About This Team
Laura Sweeney, Director/Writer – Laura is a Screenwriter, Director and Actress. Currently she has a feature film in development with aloris Entertainment and previously has had television projects optioned by North South Productions. She directed a short experimental film called The Neck. Also, she has created and starred in two different ongoing web series: The Mothership and Theater Bitches. She has worked with such notable directors and actors as Austin Pendletom, Sidney Lumet, Oleg Tabokov and Achim Freyer. She was the lead actress in the NYC Fringe Festival award winning play Random Us. A native New Yorker and proud member of SAG-AFTRA, The Georgetown Entertainment Media Alliance, and New York Women In Film and Television. Laura teaches screenwriting for Writer Boot Camp and is a graduate of Georgetown University and studied acting with the Moscow Art Theatre. She is fluent in French and currently resides in Centerport, NY. www.laurasweeney.com
Teresa Bolz, Associate Producer – Teresa is a school librarian, actress and a member of the Prop Department in IATSE Local 52. She was the lead in the 2003 Fringe NYC play “Who’s Not Ready Holler I!” Last year, she returned to the Fringe NYC stages in the awarding winning production of Random Us portraying three characters. She has performed around Long Island with the following companies: YCP presents The Company, Huntington Village Theater Company, BareBones Theater Company and Township Theater Group. Last fall, Teresa along with Laura Sweeney created the web series, Theater Bitches. Teresa just recently filmed an episode for The Mothership.
Calvin Gladen, Producer – Calvin is graduate of the University of California and has worked as a professional actor and producer in New York City for the past 20 years. Calvin has worked in film, television, commercials and new media content and has produced several workshop readings of new media works and short film narratives- including The Dead Cat, the pilot of the web series Mommy Mafia, and the web series The Mothership. Calvin also co-founded and acted as Managing Director of the award winning off-Broadway company Inertia Productions, producing and performing in several critically acclaimed shows, including Don Nigro’s Lurker and Scarecrow, Keith Reddin’s Life During Wartime, and Wendy MacLeod’s The House of Yes.
Cynthia Barrera, Producer – Cynthia has more than a decade of experience as a field producer and executive producer of television, film and commercial content. She also has extensive experience in radio as the host of her own Spanish-Language radio show Transicion. Most recently, she was the executive producer/senior content developer and writer at HITN-TV overseeing all production elements of live and pre-produced on-air and online content for such shows popular bilingual shows as Dialogo de Costa a Costa.
Muriel Stockdale, Costume Designer – Since 2003 Muriel has continually created additions to her art serires of USA flags. The project, entitled E PLURIBUS, is inspired by the diverse cultures of people coexisting in this great country. Since February of 2011, many flags have been displayed at Charlotte’s Place, which is an elegant Trinity Church Community Venter at 109 Greenwich Street, NYC. Also in 2011, Muriel was commissioned by Trinity Church to oversee construction of a community art flag to honor the tenth anniversary of 9/11. That flag, entitled “Out of Many, ONE” which is 8 by 11 feet, can also be seen at Charlotte’s Place. In 2011, E Pluribus’ last gallery exhibit was in Fairfield, CT at ARC Fine Art. Before that, E Pluribus enjoyed a solo exhibit at the Charles B. Want Center at SUNY Stony Brook NY. Since 2004, the flags have been exhibited in over 20 venues including Queens Libraries, Galleries in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and Connnecticut. The New Britain Museum of American Art owns the original E Pluribus African flag as part of its permanent collection.
Michael Mingoia, Composer – Michael is an accomplished composer, fronts the premiere Long Island party band Powerhouse, and hosts a successful, weekly, instructional musical blog that could be seen at michaelmingoiamusic.com and on Youtube. Michael has composed music for short films such as, Actually Love and as recent as this year’s horror film, Slumber Still. Since the age of 10, Michael has been performing on the stage. As a lover of music and the arts, he ventured into Musical Theater as well as playing with bands at an early age. He’s performed in such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Michael has a Bachelors of Music Degree from Five Towns College, where he was in many vocal ensembles. He has recently gotten back into theater after a few years of doing film. Michael can also be seen on such TV shows like, The Good Wife, The Michael J Fox Show, As The World Turns, and others. He is a member of SAG-AFTRA and ASCAP. Michael is grateful to be a part of this film and working together with such a wonder cast and crew.
Chrisie Penna, Actress- Chrisie is an actress based in NYC. She loves working in film and has worked on a variety of independent films and web series: Laura Sweeney’s The Neck, Matthew Kehoe’s August (a TriBeCa Tropfest Finalist), Chris Kenneally’s (director of Side by Side) web series Chef, and Stephen Bittrich’s The Specimen where she played a nurse alongside fellow nurse Oscar-nominated June Squibb, to name a few. She studies in Austin Pendleton’s Scene Study: Studio Practice class at Hb Studio and is getting ready to audition for The Actors Studio. She is very excited to be working with Laura again and this great group of women.
Stephanie Twyford Baldwin, Actress – Stephanie was born in New Haven, Connecticut and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, has been acting in and creating short films from a very young age. Now, at 22, she has been awarded on a national level for her personal projects via her company Part Time Hooligan, and has appeared in several other projects, including commercials for Courtyard Marriott, Japanese feature films, as well as varying advertisements in both America and Japan.
Erin Nelson, Actress – Erin is an actress & producer based in New York City. Originally from Texas, she moved to New York to study & works in theater and TV/Film. Always wanting to be creatively engaged, she began producing a few years ago with short films & web series. As a producer, her projects are exclusively led by female directors, which is a trend she hopes continues. She loves to support the creative development of scripts through The Drawing Board and a proud member of Our Bar (just think SNL meets Cheers). When she’s not performing or producing, you can find her teaching indoor cycling at SWERVE Fitness.
Alex Beechko, Actress – Alex was born on Long Island and at a very young age began dancing at various camps and programs. That brought her to NYC to study at studios such as Steps and Broadway Dance Center. After some trial in musicals, she found love in acting, and so began her summer intensives at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. That was the spark, and fueled her studies to The Hartt School where she earned a BFA in Acting. At Hartt, she studied Shakespeare in England and then was the lead dancer/dance captain in “A Christmas Carol,” simultaneously acting in “Snow Falling on Cedars” at Hartford Stage Company. Always finding herself drawn to watching a great film above all, she began her focus on film. Working in smaller independent films and with her most recent film, she played opposite Rich Sommer in a short for The New York Shakespeare Exchange. Being a writer also, her first short is in preproduction that she wrote, produced, and is acting in.