Skip to content

Tom Wilton, writer/producer: ELSEWHERE, NY

February 19, 2015
Tom Wilton, writer/producer of ELSEWHERE, NY

Tom Wilton, writer/producer of ELSEWHERE, NY

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of Elsewhere, NY, from concept to financing.

I‘ve been busily writing and directing zero budget features for several years now, and at the final Bootleg Film Festival in NYC, myself and filmmaker Neil Rolland took our friend, Jeffrey P. Nesker, to one side and told him it was time for him to just shoot a feature.

Things had been building up for a while, and like so many filmmakers, Jeff had slipped into that all-too-familiar pattern of fruitlessly trying to raise a large sum of money to make his first feature. As I say, it’s nothing new, but after a while, you’ve got to own your own process as a filmmaker, otherwise you fade into irrelevance.

And so it was, I invited him to come make a film in NYC with me on a deliberate zero budget.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the US Premiere of Elsewhere, NY. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before US audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

We played Whistler Film Festival at the end of last year, but Cinequest represents our US debut, which is ultimately very, very exciting.

For me, coming back to the Bay Area is kind of acknowledging where it all started. Although I’m based in New York these days, originally, I’m from London. My first ever trip to the States was as an ambitious-yet-dumb 23-year-old, flying over to crash with my cousin for a month as I figured out how to become a filmmaker.

Over those weeks, I hung out in Gilroy, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and of course, San Jose where Cinequest is happening. Falling in love with California was easy of course, and I have been back to countless times since. But returning for the first time with a film I’ve written and produced will be quite special.

All I hope is people dig the film. There’s a rock n roll vibe to the film, an acerbic feel to it that I think will chime right in with Californians (both native and festival-temporary).

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making Elsewhere, NY?

Much of the movie was based out of mine and my wife’s apartment in Astoria, Queens, and at the time, we’d just moved in. So of course, adjusting to the chaos of shooting whilst trying to bed into our new life together in NYC was rough at times. But then, seeing Jeff grow from the very real challenges I’d laid out for him (he had the couch) was inspiring.

Of course, shooting a movie in lowdown and dirty style is hard, but maybe not in the ways people instantly think. Yes, there’s no money, no crew and everybody’s trying to squeeze it in around day jobs, but you focus on what you do have, rather than the negatives. For example, I knew I could invest my energy in taking Jeff’s idea and weaving it into a screenplay where the character’s choices made sense. They might not be the right ones, but at least you could understand why things happen the way they do.

Then of course, it’s NYC – if you can’t find talented actors in this town you’re not looking in the right places. So for me, the best experience was presenting all these things to Jeff and him proving that, even if we did have a fat budget, none of that could improve the actors we had or the story we wanted to tell. Sometimes, when you don’t have much, you can really focus on the value you do have.

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

People should see the film because it’s raw, honest, smart and a little bit baddass. And yes, I know I’m meant to say all that, but then, I also believe it to be true. But don’t just take my word for it, come see it, and tell me what you think after.

Still, is Elsewhere, NY a clean and easy ride? No – but we never wanted it to be. It’s about people screwing around and screwing up. What’s not to love?

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for Elsewhere, NY. Give us your acceptance speech.

I think they wrote down the wrong name, but I have a death grip on this statuette and I’m not giving it up.

View the trailer!
Follow them on Facebook!
Visit Tom’s website!

From → Interviews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Your Arts & Culture Kingdom


I'm Just Me


Reviews & Interviews from Bay Area Film Festivals


Reviews & Interviews from Bay Area Film Festivals

Jason Watches Movies

Reviews & Interviews from Bay Area Film Festivals


Reviews & Interviews from Bay Area Film Festivals

%d bloggers like this: