“You don’t need a studio behind you to make a good film,” said Jesse Barack, writer, director and producer of the upcoming independent film “Polypore.” “This is my opportunity to do weird things.”

“Polypore,” a full-length film, is being produced by Films Royale, an independent production company composed of young filmmakers from New England.

Barack is uniquely approaching the production of the film by taking marketing, character development and location liberties that are very uncommon in the film industry.

“I have the opportunity to be a little more creative than usual because I don’t have to answer to any studios,” he explained.

“Polypore” is a mystery about a recent college graduate who gains telepathy and begins using his newly found powers. When a pharmaceutical company creates a disease so that it can then sell the anecdote, the main character gets tangled in its plans. While the film is a thriller, Barack says there are also elements of satire and the ultimate message is about non-violence and controlling your ego.

The idea for the film originated in fall 2009 at the Tunnel Bar in Northampton. While it began small with only eight characters, it has now grown to over 80. The number of locations has also increased as the film has now been shot across the world in places such as California, New York, Massachusetts, Japan and Spain.

Barack shared that the production crew has been using whatever locations are available to them. But while characters and location may have changed, the plot remained stable.

However, Barack is purposefully keeping the plot hidden from the actors; he will tell them the past of their characters but little else. He is also giving the cast the opportunity to help shape attributes of their characters including wardrobe, dialect and dialogue.

Production for “Polypore” began in the summer of 2010 after Barack graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst and he was able to focus more on the film. “I have the luxury of time on my side,” he said.

This is the first production that Barack has done outside of projects for film classes. While he does have other people helping him he still says that the crew is small and he has a lot of responsibility.

“I’m wearing way too many hats, which is great,” he said. “It humbles me.”

Barack is also actively involved in the marketing of the film. He began promoting it as soon as production started opposed to waiting until the film was complete to begin. He reasoned that as a fan of other movies, he would like to have the opportunity to follow a film from the beginning.

Films Royale has been using a guerilla marketing strategy, which Barack compares to that of “The Blair Witch Project.” In addition to online viral video contests, the company is also considering other marketing ideas such as fake protests in New York.

Currently, there are hopes that “Polypore” will be picked up like “Catfish” was discovered and distributed by a large company. The plan is to enter A-list and B-list festivals in addition to local New England festivals. With the first festival of interest happening in the fall, Barack said that the goal is to have the film complete by then.

“Polypore” has already been awarded a grant by the Arts Council at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is also sponsored by its Independent Film Production Club, but Films Royale is still seeking donations through sites such as kickstarter.com to help with costs.

Barack is already working on his next film, but “Polypore” is his primary focus right now. “If I start a project I have to finish it, he said. “Even if my interest shifts while I’m creating it, I’m not just going to abandon ‘Polypore.’ You always want to have a script in your back pocket.”

Although he says that he will approach his next project differently, “Polypore” is definitely going to be an experience to remember.

About The Author

Miya Williams is a Blast editor-at-large

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