This week, I had the opportunity to interview Don Capria, the director of a new film entitled, Eulogy, which will be shown as part of the Queens World Film Festival this Friday, March 20. at 8 pm at The Secret Theater. The entire cast has been nominated for Best Actor in a Short Narrative. Entirely shot in the Bronx, the film follows the story of Zef Celaj, who is currently serving time for a crime his brother Martin committed. Upon discovering his brother took his own life, Zef travels home to his Bronx community to deliver a eulogy at Martin’s wake.
Check out the interview below:
What drew you to the Bronx for this film?
I am originally from Westchester, N.Y. I have a lot of family and friends in the Bronx and I worked in the area we filmed for a few years. I’ve been to the building we filmed in many times before and it feels like its own world within the city. I remember reading in one of my books on screenwriting that a location for a script should not be any location, but the only location you can use. This place felt like that.
The Bronx’s Albanian population has grown significantly in recent years, and plays a role in your film. Why do you think that is?
I grew up around a lot of Albanians in high school and stayed close with them years later. While I don’t know a lot about the number of immigrants in the area, I do know a lot about my friends and the people they know. They are a small but tight knit community, and that was what I hoped to display in this short.
What are some of the benefits of filming in the Bronx? Did you encounter any challenges/struggles of filming in the borough?
It was a very easy experience production wise. I was really sick during filming so that was the biggest challenge for me. It’s 90 percent interior shots but overall I think filming in the Bronx is a smart move for filmmakers in New York. You have the urban landscape and may not have to deal with high traffic areas if you chose the right locations.
What do you hope audiences take away from Eulogy?
I hope it feels real to them, and in some way they can identify with the characters on the screen. I want to make movies that take extraordinary circumstances that actually happen in life and translate them poetically onto the big screen. I want people to think about something after they watch a film that reflects something in their own lives and not worry about the lives of people that have no real bearing in their world.
Are you working on any other projects that we should be on the lookout for?
I am currently in development of a project I wrote and will also direct – a dark drama with the same tone as Eulogy. It is a prison movie called Valhalla, and we signed up actor Lillo Brancato (A Bronx Tale/ Sopranos) to play the lead role. We will shoot in New York, hopefully by the end of 2015. I also have a biography coming out in June based upon the life of New York mob icon Joe Colombo. I wrote the book with his oldest son Anthony Colombo.