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The power of imagination

Published 9:04am Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Indian Springs native’s pilot selected for New York film festival

By KATIE COLE / Lifestyles Editor

A TV pilot created by Indian Springs native and University of Alabama student Marcus Tortorici has been selected for the 7th Annual New York Television Festival in Manhattan.

“Recommitted” follows a high school student and his imaginary best friend.

Tortorici said the idea to mix daydreams with reality came to him while watching a fight scene in “The Patriot,” a movie about the American Revolutionary War.

“I was watching ‘The Patriot’ and I was thinking how funny it would be if they were fighting with pool noodles,” he said.

The pilot was developed in Tortorici’s Advanced Television Production class at UA. Each student was required to pitch a pilot idea, and Tortorici’s was selected.

The class spent the entire semester working on the project with each of the students serving a role in the production process, including Tortorici as director.

After a few weeks of pre-production, the class jumped into eight weekends of filming.

The cast included UA theater students and the students’ friends. One of Tortorici’s friends, Andrew Carey, played Bo, the protagonist’s imaginary friend in the pilot. Carey also helped write the pilot.

“I actually came up with the idea for his character based on him,” Tortorici said.

Tortorici said one of the more challenging aspects of the process was finding filming locations on an extremely small budget of only a few hundred dollars. They shot some scenes in friends’ houses and were able to use Central High School in Tuscaloosa for one scene.

The pilot premiered at Bama Theater in Tuscaloosa in December 2010.

When it came time to submit the pilot to the New York Television Festival, friend Hamilton Henson stepped in to create a trailer and assist with the application process. They learned the pilot was accepted a few weeks ago.

While Tortorici has enjoyed the experience of creating a TV pilot, he’s not sure his future lies in Hollywood.

“Unless something crazy opens up or develops, I’m not really planning to go to LA to be a filmmaker,” he said.

He would like to put his telecommunications and film degree to good use somewhere in the Southeast.

In the meantime, he hopes to attend the film festival, which will be held Sept. 19-24 in Manhattan, although he’s not sure he can afford the trip.

The New York Television Festival attempts to connect “independent creative talent” with networks and studios, according to a press release. Forty-eight pilots will be presented to industry executives and guests at the festivals. Development deals will be offered to some of the submissions.

View the “Recommitted” trailer online at Youtube.com/nytvf.

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