“Fry Day,” short film shot in New Milford, to be aired at SXSW
NEW MILFORD — It’s set in Florida, and it’ll premier in Texas, but the short film “Fry Day” has New Milford written all over it. Most of the film was shot in town over the summer, and some 40 town residents make an appearance.
“Fry Day” will premier at South by Southwest, or SXSW, an annual mid-March mashup of media, music festivals and film screenings in Austin, Texas, that has become a film-industry proving ground over the past decade.
“It was definitely our dream, our goal, to premier at South by,” said Laura Moss, the film’s director.
The film, a dark tale about a young woman coming of age during the 1989 execution of Ted Bundy in Florida, was a New York University graduate school thesis project for New York City-native Moss. Moss said she picked New Milford because the town had the scenery to support 90 percent of the film’s Florida scenes. And, after approaching several New York and Connecticut towns, New Milford was the only municipality with an active film commission. In the past, New Milford has been the site of several major film shoots, including the Adam Sandler-Winona Ryder film, “Mr. Deeds,” in 2001.
“I couldn’t thank New Milford more,” Moss said.
For crowd scenes, barbecuers at a town park lined up to get in the film, the film commission whisked production through the permitting process, and some town employees even got speaking roles. Economic Development Director Kevin Bielmeier plays a reporter in the film.
Ted Bundy was executed with the electric chair — fried a la “Fry Day” — for murdering an estimated 20 young women from 1961 to 1978. “Fry Day” takes place in Florida during the days around his execution. It focuses on the dangers women face, and is a meditation on the moment young women learn that the world is a more dangerous place if you’re female, Moss said.
The film, at 15 minutes long, will be screened three times at three SXSW venues for its premier. It’s one of 17 shorts selected, and one of nine American movies selected. Other narrative shorts come from countries including Iceland and Lebanon.
A New York City premier is also in the works, Moss said.
And Moss and Film Commission Chair Valerie Lorimer, are planning for “Fry Day” to screen at the second annual New Milford Film Festival in the fall.