First Selectman Rudy Marconi said he would “say ‘no’ ” to a filmmaker’s plan to use Ridgefield as a stand-in for Newtown in a short movie relating to the December school shooting there.
In the same breath Mr. Marconi said he doesn’t know anything more than what’s been in the media about the potential film, which has been called both a “short film” and a “made-for-TV” movie, focusing on mental illness. No filmmakers have contacted the town’s one-person “film commission” or the state.
A fund raising page for the film described it as “… the story of a 13 year old boy with a mental illness, and the ever growing fear of his parents after they learn about the shooting in Newtown.”
Several statewide television news crews have been filming in town and interviewing Mr. Marconi about the supposed movie plans.
Mr. Marconi said any movie closely tied to the Newtown shooting would be too soon and too close to be welcome here, but he acknowledged the film idea might be much different from his perception based on media reports.
“Recognizing the terrible tragedy of Newtown and to actually have someone begin filming a made-for-TV is premature if not inappropriate.
“The freshness of the wounds the Town of Newtown residents continue to deal with, in and of itself, is reason enough to say ‘no’… to the filming of the movie.”
The town has a filming permit which it requests people get to film on public property.
“If they’re using public property we want to make sure it doesn’t interfere with the use of public property,” he said.
He acknowledges that filming in public isn’t inherently something that is under the government’s auspices, but he gave some insight into how filming could be barred if it isn’t coordinated with the town.
“If a camera is set up with a tripod and a boom microphone it’s interfering with the flow of pedestrian traffic,” he said.
Asked if it’s appropriate for a filming permit to be withheld based on the content of the project, Mr. Marconi said, “I don’t care if it’s appropriate,” adding that it’s “common sense and logical… to say ‘No. I’m sorry but the answer is no.”
Asked if it infringes on free speech rights, he said “You want to accuse me of violating free speech on that issue, go ahead… I really don’t think that this is an issue of free speech…
“Anybody who were to use public property for this purpose would be asked to leave.”