Tag Archives: “Paranormal Activity

From “06880” To The New York Times

On Tuesday “06880” previewed “Breaking Upwards,” Westport writer/director/actor/producer Daryl Wein’s new movie that will be shown tomorrow (Sunday, March 28, 2 p.m.) at Fairfield’s Community Theatre.

This weekend, the New York Times joins the buzz.

We’re not talking a mini-review, all agate type and buried at the bottom of a Saturday page no one reads.

Not hardly.  Daryl; his girlfriend/co-writer/co-producer Zoe Lister-Jones; his Staples classmate/co-writer/associate producer Peter Duchan, and the entire cast and crew that helped make this indie film for the astonishingly low cost of $15,000, have scored a full-page feature story in tomorrow’s Sunday Times arts section.

A hugely laudatory story.

With 6 photos.

Including one plastered across the entire top of the page, showing Daryl and Zoe in exactly the type of scene that will be remembered years from now, when they’re accepting Oscars for lifetime achievements.

Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, looking very movie-like. (Photo by Alex Bergman/Courtesy of the New York Times)

Writer Larry Rohter calls “Breaking Upwards” “almost a tutorial in how a do-it-yourself ethos can overcome the tough economics of the movie business.”

He describes the recruitment of the cast through Craigslist.  The clever use of inheritances and insurance to fund the film.  Daryl’s living room editing on a flat-screen TV.  Guerrilla marketing tactics like chalking the movie title on Manhattan walls and sidewalks.

And the importance of big names like actors Olivia Thirlby, Julie White, Peter Friedman and Andrea Martin to the success of the project.

Rohter likens “Breaking Upwards” to “Paranormal Activity.”  That indie film — also made for the price of a Hyundai Elantra — has grossed more than $100 million so far.  Coincidentally, “Paranormal” stars another Staples graduate:  Micah Sloat.

“06880” is glad the New York Times recognizes Daryl’s talents — and shares them with the rest of the weekend Arts section crowd.  We just hope that — on his way to super-stardom — Daryl doesn’t forget the little people.

Catching Up With Micah Sloat

It’s been a busy month for Micah Sloat.

Micah Sloat

Micah Sloat

The surprise star of “Paranormal Activity” — the surprise hit of the fall season — has appeared on Jay Leno, and in the pages of Entertainment Weekly.

He’ll be featured soon in People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue.

But he hasn’t forgotten his Westport roots.

“We’ve passed $100 million in box office receipts to become the most profitable movie of all time,” he said in a quick email to “06880.”  “I know some people in Westport might like to know!”

Some of those Westporters are friends from Staples, or of his parents (Bob and Vicky) and late grandfather (who owned Sam Sloat Coins & Cards).

Other Westporters who might care:  anyone with a business background.

If “Paranormal” — which cost just $15,000 to make — were a stock, it would be a Google share — times 675.

Its rate of return:  more than 433,000 percent.

Go figure.

Westport’s Paranormal Activity

“Paranormal Activity” makes “Blair Witch Project” look like a blockbuster Hollywood production.

The uber-low budget film — it cost $11,000, which usually covers donuts for 1 morning of filming — debuted last week to frenzied anticipation in select small theaters around the country.  Viewers were eager to see the indie offering that EW.com’s Hollywood Insider called a “fright flick that fanatics have been foaming at the mouth to see since its storied debut at the January 2008 Slamdance festival.”

The local link:  “Paranormal Activity” stars Micah Sloat, a Westporter who while at Staples was not a member of the famed Players acting troupe.

But now he plays the male half of a San Diego couple terrorized by things that go bump in the night.  At a recent Toronto screening, EW says, “a packed audience gasped and screamed.”

The marketing campaign for “Paranormal” is a 2009 version of “Blair Witch Project.”  Midnight screenings on college campuses will lead — the film’s backers hope — to blog, Facebook and Twitter posts, creating an underground viral buzz that will carry the film to world mega-hit status.

Or at least earn back its $11,000 budget.

(To see the “Paranormal Activity” trailer, click here.)

Micah Sloat (left), actress Katie Featherston and writer/director Oren Pell pose at the Slamdance Fillm Festival in Utah.

Micah Sloat (left), actress Katie Featherston and writer/director Oren Pell pose at the Slamdance Fillm Festival in Utah.