Lights, camera, Bristol

When Michele Boyko wrote a movie script, she knew she wanted to make it Bristol’s independent film project.
A writer/producer for J.A.C.O.B. Film Productions, Boyko feels proud to play a role in something that will bring more “spirit” to Bristol.
From comedy to drama to romance, “Spirit of the 4th” brings a mix of different movie genres together, with a setting in the 1970s. For the baby boomers, the movie will bring back nostalgia. For today’s generation, Boyko said the movie will serve as a reminder that young adults may not be as different from their parents after all, as each main character in the movie learns about adulthood through their transitions.
Boyko said she tried to capture that transition in the most profound way the audience can identify with, adding that the movie will take the audience back in time and in the present.
“For us baby boomers, it’s a great retro—it brings us back in time, but it also appealed to the younger market,” said Boyko, who wrote the script herself. “Whether you served in the military, graduated high school, your right of passage is a time you never forget.”
Media Production Specialist Mark Alan K serves as Boyko’s co-producer for the film. When Boyko met Mark at a film mixer hosted by Neal Thomassen, a leader in the film industry, she said she knew they would make a great team.
“I believe in the VIPs of filmmaking: visual quality, the intellectual quality, the performance quality and sound quality.”
“[This film] is going to be really good,” said Mark, who has prior experience working for music videos, short films, visual effects, and animation.
With a $200,000 budget and business plan already set, Boyko said filming is scheduled to begin next July with a debut expected April 2016. A portion of the proceeds from the movie will benefit the Bristol community through J.A.C.O.B. Film Productions.
Currently, there are eight primary actors in the movie, all of whom attend prestigious acting schools, including New York University and Emerson College, said Boyko. Although casting has not been finished yet, the film’s creators plan on adding more characters, and even a celebrity cameo. Boyko said many of the characters in the movie are based on combinations of people in  real life.
“When they walk out of the theater, I want [the audience] to say, ‘I want to see that again,’” said Boyko. “I want to make this a Bristol project.”
Born and raised in Bristol, Boyko said she feels proud to being this type of project to her hometown. She said set designer Mark Mazzarella plans to speak with city officials about using the abandoned school buildings of Bristol to have a location to film interior shots. Exterior shots will be filmed at the University of Connecticut and in Newport, Rhode Island.
“It’s got some great locations out here,” said Mark.
“It takes a village to make a person, and I think this village has done all right by me, and my best way of paying it back is by paying it forward,” said Boyko. “I’m proud to serve Bristol this way.”
Boyko added she would love to show the premiere of “Spirit” in the auditorium of the former Memorial Boulevard School.
“Hopefully we’ll have it renovated by then so we could have the premiere there with the big search lights in front and limousines pulling up,” said Boyko, who also has written two more movie scripts for Bristol, including a science fiction and romantic drama.