by Christopher Annino
This summer a man did the impossible and made many local people’s dreams come true. Biju Viswanath a nationally known award-wining director from India came to CT to direct a feature film based on local poet and Pulitzer Prize wining author William Meredith’s life. The film is based on the memoir, “Marathon.” The memoir is about William’s life and his lover, Richard Harteis, running a marathon in his memory. Biju and Celia De Freine re-wrote it as a screenplay.
Armed with only a skeleton cast, crew, and low budget Biju managed to do the impossible and create a masterpiece. Like an army both cast and crew, banded together and conquered various locations throughout eastern CT and RI. “The success of any independent film depends on team work. I was lucky to have a very good crew; Susan Jacob, first camera assistant, Allison Jackson, sound person, Jeannette Drake, production designer…all of them helped me achieve what I wanted in this film” said Biju.
Being able to multi-task he took the roles of cinematographer, director, and at times cameraman/ locations scout. Beverly Hayes, who played the mother of Richard’s character in the film said, “He was like a composer, he set the tone for all of us. He was a joy to work with.”
In regards to the way the film was shot Biju remarked, “The script of marathon called for a direct and simple approach in lighting and cinematography, I love twilight and I had used lot of twilight shots in this film to enhance the mood and create a lyrical feel to the visuals. The interiors were mostly shot in the chiaroscuro pattern. The palette I chose was more of cool tones. The decision to shoot in 35mm film speed was mainly for the picture quality and for archival purposes. Fortunately I had the support of some very good actors Bristol Pomeroy, Alec Danna, Donna Del Bueno, and Beverly Hayes, who helped me in attaining my vision of the script.”
Old Lyme resident Beth Campbell, who played Marian, said, “Biju is a genius with light and sound, every image will be symbolic and poetic. I’m sure it will be sweepingly beautiful.” Bristol Pomeroy, who played Richard, added, “Biju was a joy to work with because he was always completely focused and at the same time allowed the actors to try anything that was appropriate to the scene. Sometimes even allowing us to create entire new improvised scenes for the film.” “Marathon” was completed in record time and will be shown on November 20th at the Mystic Village Cinemas.
Biju recently received a special prize at the Patras Film Festival in Greece. He is currently working on a new feature film, which will be shot in December. For more information visit www.bijuviswanath.com/default.html.