Adira, a locally made movie written by Irene Delmonte and directed by Delmonte and Bradley J. Lincoln, has been picked up for international distribution by Sunset Studios, based in Orlando, Fla. The film has potential to be shown in selected theaters nationwide.
Completed in 2014, the feature-length Adira stars Kansas City-based actors Andrea Fantauzzi (who recently relocated to New York City), Seth Andrew Macchi, Jeffrey Staab, Christie Courville and Roger Denesha. The cast also features well-known KC actors Davis DeRock and Jennifer Seward-DeRock.
Set during the Holocaust in World War II Germany, Adira’s plot involves a young Jewish girl named Adira (Fantauzzi) fleeing the grasp of the Gestapo and finding herself stranded on an abandoned farm. The feature was shot in locations around Kansas City, Harrisonville and Garden City, Mo.
Though working with a “shoestring budget,” Delmonte and Lincoln researched the period extensively and the movie employs authentic World War II vehicles, uniforms, weaponry and clothing. The movie also manages a sumptuous, big-budget production look.
“It was a feat to raise the funds needed to make the film, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our family or the Kansas City community,” Delmonte said.
“Delmonte’s script is the main reason this film got picked up for distribution,” said the now 21-year-old lead actor Andrea Fantauzzi.
“If you have a great script, amazing people will want to be involved…We ‘finished’ shooting right before I began my freshman year of college at Oklahoma City University. It was much too long to be a short and there was no way it could be cut to make any sense…so we filmed a few more scenes, adding more than 20 minutes, over my Thanksgiving break to make it a full feature.”
Fantauzzi said that most of Adira was made with just Delmonte and Lincoln, director of photography Christopher Commons, sound mixer/sound editor C.J. Drumeller and herself on set. “I lived in the woods for three months, Fantauzzi continued, “which by itself was a huge challenge: bug bites, ticks, sharp thicket, etc. The majority of my scenes were me alone, which at times got pretty lonely. I loved it when Seth (Eric) was on set or when we were in KC filming at the Harrison Kearney Museum, but I hated the wig I had to wear every day.”
Delmonte added that it was challenging to work out in the elements and for long periods of time. “I would say that everyone’s favorite shoot days were on location inside of the Harris Kearney Museum.”
Jeffrey Staab, who plays the heroine’s father, said the biggest challenge in the film for him was learning to speak Hebrew with a British accent. “The British accent was easy,” he said. “The difficult part was the Hebrew—and I had a small panic attack on set because of it.”
Staab found reciting the Hebrew Traveler’s Prayer particularly vexing, and so he enlisted his brother-in-law (Dr. Mark Yagan) coach him in the Hebrew dialect. He says all the meticulous detail paid off in the long run—and that Adira ended up being a labor of love for all involved.
“Overall, making the movie was a life-changing experience,” Delmonte said. Filmmaking is definitely a team sport, and it takes an army to make a movie. With our vision spearheading the film, we were able to work alongside talented crew members to make the film a reality.”
Based in Orlando, Fla., Irene Delmonte and Bradley J. Lincoln are a husband-and-wife writing, producing and directing team. Delmonte is best known for the movie shorts Bennu: The Rise (2013) and Dry Season (2012). Lincoln wrote and produced the short Memory Lake (2010) and produced Bennu: The Rise.
“My husband Bradley was one of the most important and influential members of the Adira team,” Delmonte said. “He took my screenplay and produced, directed and oversaw the entire crew during principal photography. He didn’t shy away from running camera or directing the actors, especially out in the elements. Apart from all of that, he edited the film into the polished finished product in less than four months, ensuring the best performances appeared on screen.”
Produced by Delmonte, Lincoln, Cristina Cimino, Ryan Cimino and Tom Popp, Adira features music by Sam Billen, Adiran Brown and C.J. Drumeller. Other cast members include Chris Bylsma, Michael Cootes, Marilyn Hall, Shawn Eric Jones, Amelie Vienne Lincoln, Erik J. Pratt, Nicole Santorella, Jacob Scribner and Spencer Ward.