Home Cartoonist A cartoonist from the island launches a new short film

A cartoonist from the island launches a new short film



Creativity cannot be refused. It’s something Peter Waldner has proven continually in his life, most recently producing a 22-minute film with a team of islanders during the COVID pandemic and while battling his own health issues in the process.

“Teen Pod,” a short film based on “Invasion of the Body Thieves” made its audience debut at the Shelter Island Library last Thursday. It had been shown to students and staff at Shelter Island School earlier because it featured some of their members. But it was the first screening open to the public.

When the idea came to The Reporter cartoonist, it was before the pandemic began and before Mr Waldner was diagnosed with colon cancer that required him to undergo surgery and chemotherapy. He and the cast moved forward, at one point enlisting neighbors from Worthy Way for a party scene. But when one of the extras felt ill and thought she might have COVID-19, Mr Waldner had to notify the entire cast to get tested and quarantined until he be determined that the woman did not have COVID.

Through all the ups and downs, those working on the film persevered and found laughs in the experience.

It was not a low budget movie, Mr. Waldner said. “It was a movie with no budget.”

Very early on, he contacted Franny Regan, then a 15-year-old college student whom he identified as the right person to play in the film as the possessed Regan in the story he had written. That she agreed to participate and stuck with the film for a year and a half is something he considers remarkable given the appeal of so much schoolwork and so many time-consuming activities. and energy to the students.

He also enlisted Superintendent Brian Doelger, Ed.D., to demonstrate his acting skills as a school psychologist. John Kaasik, who has been the driving force behind school plays for years, also stepped up for the privilege of having several glasses of water thrown in his face.

He told audiences last week that although this is only one scene in the film, Mr. Waldner has done about a dozen takes with a glass of cold water thrown at him repeatedly.

Island farmer and community housing council member Chris DiOrio played a major role as Ms Regan’s tormented father, not knowing why his beloved daughter was suddenly the teenager from hell , smashing dishes from an upstairs window rather than washing them like Dad had instructed. Friends have told her that she is not possessed, but just acts as some teens go through a personality change from being an image of daddy’s little girl to being brooding, angry and even violent.

Other cast members included local real estate professional Susan Cincotta, Natalie Regan, James DeVito and city council candidate Brett Surerus.

Early in his planning, Mr. Waldner hired an old college friend, Bob Volpe, of Glen Ridge, NJ, to help him with the editing process. It had been forty years since the two friends from college had made films together.

There was more laughter last week as Mr Waldner recounted filming stories the two had done together years ago.

There were also stories of scenes that only the most careful eyes could catch from filming a scene that had to be reversed in order to work. But an attentive bystander would see that the reversal caused a vehicle seen to be backing up instead of forward.

And even more stories of leaks of properties where they were running in those early days.

It’s a colorful story and, without a doubt, Mr. Waldner will draw on his repertoire of stories as he moves forward to make even more films.



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