Independent motion pictures need to find their audiences, and Tom Gilroy is happy to make the introductions.
The actor and director will bring his locally filmed movie, “The Cold Lands,” to Albany’s Spectrum 8 Theatres on Wednesday for a 6:30 p.m. screening.
Gilroy, who lives in the Catskills, will conduct a question-and-answer session at the conclusion of the 101-minute film. One of the movie’s stars, 13-year-old Rensselaerville resident Silas Yelich, also will be part of the discussion.
Yelich plays a home-schooled 11-year-old named Atticus, who lives with his self-reliant mother Nicole — played by Lili Taylor of Rhinebeck. When Nicole dies, Atticus flees into the forests nears his Catskill Mountain home. Wary of the authorities, Atticus wanders the woods in shock, finds meager food and shelter and loses touch with reality. He meets Carter, portrayed by Peter Scanavino, a pot-smoking, trinket-making drifter. The two form an alliance.
Gilroy, who wrote and directed the film, shot it in the Catskills and around Rensselaerville during the late summer of 2011. The film depicts Atticus’ dream world and memories, and tells the story about a child’s subconscious growth. It’s also an American cinema favorite — the buddy movie.
’The Cold Lands’
WHERE: Spectrum 8 Theatres, 290 Delaware Ave., Albany
WHEN: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $10
MORE INFO: www.spectrum8.com
“One of the things I wanted to do in the film, I’m definitely touching upon a lot of the things that are part of mainstream American culture like the road movie, the buddy movie, the coming-of-age story, the adventure story and the self-reliant nature story,” Gilroy said. “Whether it’s Thoreau or Huckleberry Finn or Jack Kerouac or pick your road movie — ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ ‘My Side of the Mountain’ — they’re all deep planks in the floor of American culture and everyone recognizes the drifter, the rebel, the lost child. These are all really deep things in our American psyche. So they’re all in the movie.”
Taylor’s had high profile roles in other movies and on television, and most recently appeared in the Fox science-fiction and cop series “Almost Human.”
Yelich is a new face. Gilroy discovered him in acting in a church play, and tutored him in acting for more than a year before “Cold Lands” went before the cameras.
“He’s not this polished Hollywood theater kid. I didn’t want that,” Gilroy said. “I wanted a kid who knew animals, I wanted a kid who could be a wise guy sometimes. I wanted a kid who could be shy and Silas delivered all of that. He ended up getting an award from the National Film Festival. They gave him best breakout performance because they realized how difficult it was to convey what he had to convey. He did a great job.”
Gibson isn’t sure if Yelich will attach his name to any future projects. “I think it’s all about football and grades for him right now,” he said.
The director is on the move, though, and taking the film on tour. Gilroy has planned stops on both the east and west coasts for screenings and question-answer sessions. It’s one way to get “The Cold Lands” noticed.
“It’s not a very great time for getting independent film out, period,” Gilroy said. “It’s a shrinking market and there are shrinking places to show it. It becomes more and more about showing it on cable or showing it on the Internet or showing it digitally. Some movies, like my style of movies, they really need to be seen in a kind of large space. So we’re very blessed to be able to do this kind of tour and show it in theaters. It’s made to be big like that.”
Other directors are looking for the same thing Gilroy is — an audience.
“Everybody that makes a film in this country submits it to Sundance,” Gilroy said. “At the end of the day, they only take 14 from American filmmakers. If you don’t get in there or South by Southwest (in Austin, Texas), how do you get out to the world? How do people see your work?”
Gilroy hopes people in the Capital Region want to watch a film that takes place near their homes.
“I’d love for people to see their own town and their own lifestyles and their own values portrayed in a film,” Gilroy said. “I think there’s a tendency to think in the United States that films come from Los Angeles and New York City and books are published in some faraway place instead of looking around your own culture and saying, ‘Wow, I live in a pretty interesting place.’”