Written by Stephen Levine Friday, 28 June 2013 00:00
The year is 1930. In classic Old Hollywood, the world of speakeasies and celebrity mansions still exist.
This is the setting for Tilt of a Rose, one of more than 100 short and feature-length independent films from all over the world that was accepted into the Long Island International Film Expo. This particular film strikes particularly close to Nassau County’s heart because it was written, directed and produced by Mineola’s own, Nugent Cantileno.
“It felt great, [to be accepted into the festival]” said the recent Long Island University Post graduate. “It was exciting because it’s been a long time coming. We’ve been editing this movie for about a year.”
The idea for the film actually lies within the painting the young filmmaker’s grandfather painted in Mineola about 50 years ago. The painting depicts the hand of the devil on the bottom of it and the hand of God on the other side. There is a rose tilting in the painting towards the hand of God.
However, the setting of Old Hollywood also strikes close to home for Cantileno.
“The idea of fame has always fascinated me,” he said. “That is kind of what the message of the movie is. It’s an allegory/metaphor of fame. You see it all the time with celebrities, they strive for fame and fortune but eventually it’s what kills them. Sometimes what you want isn’t always what you necessarily need.”
Something else the writer and director of the film cited as unique about it is the location for the film. At LIU-Post, there is a giant mansion in the middle of campus. The university allowed Cantileno and his crew the space for three nights a long with access to furniture and costumes from the school’s prop house.
“It looks like a celebrity home,” says Cantileno “It is a giant mansion. It has couches we put in there and all this other stuff.”
Part of the film was even shot in Mineola’s own Black Sheep bar. The bar was transformed into a modern day speakeasy, which
according to the owner of the bar is not too far from the truth because the Mineola bar was once a speakeasy decades ago.
“Mineola is a great town,” said Cantileno “It’s a small town. It’s a great community. It’s very scenic and very local, which creates easier access for film shoots.”
For the long-time Mineola resident, the film industry was one that he always was fond of. When it came time to look at colleges, he saw the film program at LIU/Post.
“I’m a creative person,” says Cantileno “So I applied to the film program. I had an interview with the head of the department. I got in and the rest is history.”
Cantileno’s own history in Mineola is one that also helped his early connections to his recent major. As a high school graduate of Chaminade High School in Mineola, Cantileno was able to score three internships with Fox News.
Being a Mineola resident even helped Cantileno become a production assistant for a 97-minute feature film, Detachment, which was filmed at the Mineola Middle School and High School.
The movie featured director Tony Kaye (American History X) and actors such as Adrian Brody and Lucy Liu proved to be a great opportunity for Cantileno and one that quite literally had fate knocking at his door.
“They were location scouting,” recalled Cantileno. “They were going around looking for local houses and they happened to leave a flyer on my house. They didn’t end up going with my house but I put myself out there and the locations manager let me be a PA [Production Assistant] on Detachment.”
Cantileno thanked co-producer Robert La Rosa, who also edited the film for the past year with Cantileno. Acting credits go to Suzanne Lenz, Lane Kwederis, Matt Heller and Sara Percival, all of which had to audition and were cast from a production company in Manhattan.
“I am forever in all their debts for all the hard work they’ve put into it,” said Cantileno.
Tilt of a Rose will be shown on July 21 at Bellmore Movies at 1:45 p.m. time during the Long Island International Film Expo.