Movie 'magic' comes to Manchester


Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 

MANCHESTER It was not exactly a scene right out of Hollywood but if the members of the cast and crew of "Citizen Producer" have their way the movie premiere that took place at Mulligans on Monday night will be a regular occurrence.

Citizen Producer is a 60-second promotional film that was written, produced and directed by local resident Michael D. Ellenbogen for the "Make Movie Magic" contest that was announced two months ago. Ellenbogen decided to enter the contest and as he pulled the production together in record time, he decided that they were going to win. He was right, as Citizen Producer won the grand prize in the contest, an all expenses paid trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival.

"When I was coming up with ideas, I thought of Citizen Kane and I thought there is no way I could lose by referencing Rosebud' in Citizen Kane,'" said Ellenbogen. "I'm glad we won because I was telling everyone we were going to and that could have been embarrassing."

Ellenbogen decided to do a film noir video, a type of film making that focuses on dark and mysterious settings.

"Film noir is one of my specialties," said Director of Photography Antonio Panetta. "I thought I could get that look for him and make it convincing."

Ellenbogen decided to use Manchester exclusively for his video, using local talent, local buildings and local settings. Using the snowy and dark streets of Manchester in the winter and the memorable buildings of the Wilburton Inn and the Dorset Union Store , the crew was able to perfectly capture the film noir look.

"We had to deal with rain, sleet and snow in the two days we were filming," explained Panetta. "It worked for the film noir look."

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Senator Bob Hartwell and Alyssa Polacsek provided the local talent, playing the parts of the Veteran Producer and Young Producer. Polacsek plays a struggling producer who is trying to find the secret to making a successful movie. Hartwell is the veteran who holds the secret to success. The film focuses on Polacsek as she runs through the streets of Manchester to find the veteran producer and get him to tell her his secret to making a successful film.

"This project involved so much teamwork and everyone brought so much to the project," Ellenbogen said. "The few seconds that everyone had to perform in a short film like this held up and that is why we won."

It is clear that everyone who worked on the project hopes that the success of this project means bigger and better things for film in Manchester and the surrounding area.

Polacsek, who is a filmmaker herself and is currently making a film locally, hopes that this allows local artists to connect and help bring more movies to Manchester. Sen. Hartwell would like to use this experience to help spark interest in the Manchester Film Festival and get that event up and running again.

Ellenbogen certainly intends to put Manchester on the movie making map. He already has plans to film a feature film here in Manchester.

"I live here and I had a great experience filming here," said Ellenbogen. "I really want to try and make a movie here."

The success of this no budget, completely locally produced project is an example of the range of talents that exist in the area and hopefully continued success for Ellenbogen and the members of this cast and crew can continue to put Manchester and the surrounding area on the map.

For any information concerning Citizen Producer or to see the film go to


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