Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Post University alumnus sparkles in Hartford-based independent film 'Rising Star'

"Rising Star." Could there be a better name for a new film created by a team of rising -- indeed, accomplished -- stars themselves?

"Rising Star" is a new independent film starring lead actor Gary Ploski, Post University Class of '97, and produced by Marty Lang. The two met here at Post University in 1995, and hit it off.

Gary, a Prospect, Conn., native, earned his bachelor's degree in management information systems from Post University, followed by his MFA in acting from Sarah Lawrence College. He now has 10 years of stage experience under his belt.

Marty, also locally grown in East Windsor, Conn., attended Post University for his freshman year. He completed his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Connecticut and his MFA at the Florida State University Graduate Film Conservatory. Marty is now an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, having directed eight short films and produced 11.

Gary and Marty recently linked up to work on "Rising Star" together. The film explores the conflict of "working to live, or living to work" by telling the story of an overworked insurance adjuster from Hartford, Conn.

We had the opportunity to interview Gary about the entire experience, from his beginnings at Post University and meeting Marty, to coming together to create "Rising Star." Gary told us what the film means to him, what inspired him to create it, and why he thinks it's important for people to see it.

There are a few spots where we ran into some bad Skype audio. But it only lasts a couple of minutes, so please stay with us!



The "Rising Star" team recently screened their film in front of a sold-out crowd at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford.

They're planning to submit the film to IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs in April. IFP is the nation's oldest and largest independent nonprofit for filmmakers. Its Independent Filmmaker Labs effort is the only program in the world currently supporting first-time feature directors in post-production to complete, market, and distribute their films.

Every year, IFP picks 10 narrative features and 10 documentaries for its fellowship. If "Rising Star" is selected, Gary and team will have the opportunity to show their film to professional filmmakers, festival directors, and distributors in early June in New York City.

Until then, the "Rising Star" team is looking for feedback to create the first teaser about the film, which will include a mash-up of fans' responses to the question, "What don't you like about your job?" You can contribute your input via e-mail to info@risingstarmovie.com, on the "Rising Star" Facebook page, or on Twitter @risingstarmovie.

You can keep up with Gary by checking in on his blog and following on Twitter @garyploski. You can also stay in the loop on updates with "Rising Star" by hitting the "Rising Star" website and following @risingstarmovie on Twitter.