A touch of Tinsel Town on the North Fork this summer

COURTESY PHOTO | Joe Pantaliano, best known for his performance as Cypher in the Matrix, will be present this weekend at Peconic Landing in Greenport for the public screening of ‘Canvas,’ a film he co-starred in about a schizophrenic wife and mother.

A program attracting aspiring filmmakers and actors from around the world set up shop in Greenport this week for its first summer workshop series on the East End.

The Manhattan Film Institute program will be led by such film industry teachers as Larry Moss, an acting coach who worked with Helen Hunt in the film “As Good As It Gets” and with Hilary Swank in both “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Million Dollar Baby.”

The teen-age and adult participants, who applied to the program earlier in the year, will make 20 films throughout the two-week program, with each acting student cast in two films. The final products will be screened at the Greenport Movie Theater Sunday, July 15, at 10 a.m., and the public is welcome to attend.

A scholarship fund, set up in memory of North Fork actor Andrew Levin by Paul Henry of the East End Student Film Project, gave one local teenager, Mattituck’s Dallas Dodge, free tuition to the workshop series, and partial scholarships went to some other participants. All donations made to the fund were matched by the Manhattan Film Institute.

“We see a deep connection between the esoteric beauty of this area, the sweeping vineyards and film,” cofounder Tony Spiridakis said of choosing the program’s location. “It is our desire to have a presence on the North Fork for many years to come.”

Although the workshops are private, the public can benefit from the organization’s star-studded East End stay. Four public film screenings have already been planned for Peconic Landing’s Community Center. At each, an actor, writer or director from the film will be on hand to answer questions after the screening.

At 7 p.m, this Saturday, actor Joe Pantoliano of Sopranos fame will be present for the screening of “Canvas,” in which he plays the husband of schizophrenic Mary Marino, played by Marcia Gay Harden.

On July 14 at 7:30 p.m., actor and screenwriter Ben York Jones will appear for the showing of “Like Crazy,” which he both co-wrote and starred in. The film took home the grand jury prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

On the 19th, also at 7:30 p.m., workshop teacher Chazz Palminteri will attend the screening of “A Bronx Tale,” in which he gave perhaps his best known performance as an actor.

The final screening will be July 21 at 7:30 p.m., with director Tony Goldwyn on hand for his film “Conviction,” starring Sam Rockwell and Hilary Swank.
Each screening costs $15 a person; call 477-2583 for tickets and reservations.

In addition to these screenings, a special public event will be held at One Woman Vineyards on Friday, July 13, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., with guests Chazz Palminteri and Ben York Jones. Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell and Peconic landing officials, as well as filmmaking students and faculty, will be thanked for helping launch the Manhattan Film Institute program.

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