Short film ‘Tom’ shot on Kent Island
ANNAPOLIS — Michael Smigiel’s short film, “Tom,” will debut to audiences in the states this Sunday, April 2, at the Annapolis Film Festival. “Tom,” a 12-minute short film, is a drama produced and written by Smigiel. The film is not rated. The majority of the film was shot on Kent Island, where the central character Tom leads his mother to believe that his obsession of peeping on a young woman is an actual relationship.
Smigiel, the son of Michael Smigiel Sr., former delegate for the Maryland House of Delegates, District 36, is a native of the Eastern Shore and a grad student at Mar yland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. Smigiel said he is very honored to have his first debut at the Annapolis Film Festival.
The film was written on Smigiel’s own time, not as a school project, but it was a project he said he wanted to see become a reality. After convincing some of his friends from graduate school to join him in his effort, Smigiel said the filming took about a month to complete. They had originally planned to shoot at a family friend’s house in Chestertown in November 2015 but were deterred by the temporary closing of Washington College and the surrounding area due to reports of a possible gun threat. Smigiel and his crew relocated the shoot to Kent Island.
Without giving away the plot, “Tom” will leave viewers with more questions than answers. Originally written as piece of a 10-part series, everything isn’t revealed in the first “episode,” said Smigiel.
“With this first piece I wanted the viewer to never know who was good and who was bad and why this was happening. I wanted them to feel bad for the protagonist by the end but then be shocked when he broke into the [girl’s] house.”
The girl’s home was borrowed from a family friend on Kent Island, and the mother’s home was a friend’s in Baltimore City, said Smigiel. The mom in the movie is played by Kathleen Beller, recognized best perhaps from her portrayal of Kirby in “Dynasty”; she is a teacher at MICA.
Smigiel shared some of the thought process behind the development of this character: “We had her character have an obsession with the ‘80s. That’s why you will hear her talk about the Blues Brothers, see her drive a DeLorean, and listen to ‘She Blinded Me with Science,’ written by Thomas Dolby.”
Dolby is Beller’s husband in reality and helped with scoring the film, added Smigiel.
Viewers also wilkl recognize the vehicles and uniforms of the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office. The personnel from the sheriff’s office was very kind and came out for hours on their own time to help with the two scenes we needed them in, said Smigiel.
“They made sure we had the proper permits and all that, and we fed them well. So, it was a good exchange,” he said. Filming takes a long time, as an example, the one shot of the protagonist walking around the house and putting his hands up took over five hours to shoot, said Smigiel.
His next film to debut is titled “I’m Alive and Doing Well” and is shot on Kent Island and in Chestertown and Ocean City and will premiere at the Falvy Hall Theater in Baltimore on April 29. Smigiel said he is passionate about filming on the Shore and has always shared a connection with the places he has called home over the years. After graduation he plans to continue to pursue his career, hopefully as a director.
The Annapolis Film Festival is hosted at different venues across Annapolis and passes are available for individual films each day or there are general passe, good for the entire festival. “Tom” will be shown at 10 a.m. April 2 at Annapolis Elementary School. For more information and tickets visit http://annapolisfilmfestival. com/passes-tickets or call at 410-263-3444.
Michael Smigiel is writer, producer and co-director of the short film “Tom,” filmed on Kent Island.