A film by Martha Shane
Richard Castellano, a character actor best-known for a small role in Analyze This, parlays his reputation playing Italian-American heavies into an extravagant long con at the expense of the gullible citizens of a New York hamlet 100 miles northwest of Manhattan. The excitable Castellano shows up, all fast talk and glad hands, and spellbinds the town with talk of both a movie (a crime saga called Four Deadly Reasons) to be filmed there, and a film festival that will make Narrowsburg, Pop. 431., the “Sundance of the East Coast.”
His French-accented wife, Jocelyne, joins Castellano in an increasingly shady and desperate shell game that exploits the kind of show-biz fantasies that seem encoded into American DNA. Shane’s stranger-than-fiction chronicle of the scam concerns itself as much with its small-town dreamers as their deceivers, making what could be yet another oddball true-crime narrative into a story about how images, and the desires they generate, can intoxicate people and make them do crazy things. And in the end, who knows what can happen?
Director: Martha Shane
Executive Producer: Alexandra Cadena, Jose Cadena
Producer: Beck Kitsis, Martha Shane
Cinematographer: Jarred Alterman
Editor: Chris McNabb, Frederick Shanahan
Music: Nathan Michel
About the Filmmaker
Martha Shane is an Emmy Award-winning director and producer of documentaries. In 2019, Martha premiered her film Narrowsburg at the Camden International Film Festival, followed by an NYC premiere at DOC NYC. Vox listed the film as one of “16 great documentaries from 2019,” Hammer to Nail described the film as “exquisite,” and Moveable Fest called it “so much fun it should be illegal.” Also in 2019, Picture Character, a new feature documentary about emoji ( 😻❗) that Martha directed and produced with filmmaker Ian Cheney, had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, followed by an international premiere at Hot Docs. Martha was included in DOC NYC’s second annual “40 under 40” list of emerging talent in the documentary world.
Martha’s directorial debut After Tiller premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. Made in collaboration with filmmaker Lana Wilson, After Tiller was theatrically released by Oscilloscope Laboratories, broadcast on PBS’s POV series, and won an Emmy for Best Documentary. Included on “Best of 2013″ lists by the LA Times, Village Voice, Indiewire, and Artforum, the film was recently called one of the “50 Best Documentaries of All Time” by Flavorwire.
Martha produced and co-wrote From This Day Forward, which was theatrically released by Argot Pictures in 2016 and broadcast on PBS’s POV documentary series. She was one of sixteen directors on the film 11/8/16, in which she followed a community organizer and DREAMer in San Jose, California. Her first documentary effort, Bi the Way, premiered at SXSW 2008 and appeared on LOGO and Netflix.
In addition to directing and producing documentaries, Martha is an editor whose recent credits include 11/8/16 (The Orchard, Netflix, 2017), ACORN and the Firestorm (Independent Lens, 2018), and Personal Statement (AFI Docs, PBS World Channel, 2018). Martha has spoken about her films at Columbia University, the Maryland Institute College of Art, Providence College, Cardozo Law School, Washington University, the University of Chicago, and Claremont College, among others. She has been a jurist for the Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award at Full Frame and participated in the American Film Showcase. She has taught film seminars and documentary intensives at New York’s UnionDocs.
Martha’s films have received support from the Sundance Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, the Artemis Rising Foundation, Fork Films, the Educational Foundation of America, the Carpenter Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the New York State Council for the Arts, the Fledgling Fund, the International Documentary Association’s Pare Lorentz Fund, and Women in Film.
Martha grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Film Studies.