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Former Fairfield resident Marc Underhill’s first feature film will make its East Coast debut at the Greenwich International Film Festival, which began May 29 and runs until June 2. The 2005 Fairfield High School graduate, who now lives in Los Angeles, is the producer, co-writer and editor of “Auggie.”
Richard Kind (“Argo,” “Gotham,” ) stars as a man forced into early retirement who falls in love with an augmented reality companion. Matt Kane is the movie’s director and co-writer.
The 80-minute film also features Susan Blackwell (“Master of None”), Larisa Oleynik (“Mad Men,” “10 Things I Hate About You”) and Christine Donlon (“Escape Room”).
It will also be screened Saturday, June 1, at 12:30 p.m. at the Bow Tie Criterion Cinemas, 2 Railroad Avenue, Greenwich. This showing includes a Q&A with Underhill and Kane.
Arts & Leisure writer Brad Durrell recently spoke to Underhill about his background and the movie.
Brad Durrell: Were you into movies growing up?
Marc Underhill: I was a kid with a bunch of different interests. I didn’t realize I wanted to pursue a life of acting and the arts until pretty late in high school, when I attended the Regional Center for the Arts my senior year. It really opened up my world.
BD: Is it hard breaking into the business?
MU: After moving out to L.A., as an actor I was having difficulty getting auditions. People recommend you write, produce and shoot your own content so you’ll have something to show to directors. I began writing comedy stuff just for myself and that’s when I got comfortable writing. In 2015, I partnered with Matt Kane to write a short film, “The Visitor,” that we took to festivals.
BD: Tell me about making “Auggie”
MU: “Auggie” is our first feature film (Matt Kane is the director and co-writer). It’s a sci-fi drama about a man forced into early retirement who gets a pair of augmented reality smart glasses that projects an imaginary companion. He’s all alone in a big house because his wife is at work, where she’s gotten a promotion, and his daughter is always with her boyfriend. He’s feeling a lack of purpose in his day-to-day life, so he opens up to this companion and falls down a path of being romantically involved with the augmented companion to the detriment of his relationship with his wife and daughter.
We came up with the idea based partially on living in L.A., where everyone is focused on their own path so it’s hard to find people willing to commit to things. The film’s main character can put the glasses on when he’s seeking companionship, and take them off when he doesn’t want to hold up his end of the bargain and be there for someone else. This is the concept we wanted to explore. It becomes almost about infidelity with a device, with something that’s not real.