Catch­ing Up: Bucks County res­i­dent look­ing to make SHOUT film ABOUT ‘UNIQUE’ SUB­JECT CLOSE TO HIS HEAUT

The Advance of Bucks County - - NEWTOWN AREA - By Cary Beavers

- Bill Mus­cu­lar

LANdHORNE Cross­land has Dys­tro­phy.

Now that that’s out of the way, he’d like to let ev­ery­one know what he’s up to. And what the Langhorne res­i­dent is up to, specif­i­cally, is rais­ing funds for, writ­ing, pro­duc­ing and star­ring in a short film about, well, about a dis­abled man who falls in love and how to han­dle it.

“Catch­ing rp,” a nor­mal, ev­ery­day sit­u­a­tion that hap­pens to some­one most folks don’t con­sider nor­mal. Through the story he hopes to en­ter­tain and also show the pub­lic that peo­ple like him go through the same things as ev­ery­one else. They just go through it in a wheel­chair.

The main char­ac­ter, Frank, de­pends on a wheel­chair, like Bill does. He falls in love with an “able-bod­ied” woman, Bill said, and leans on his best friend, who is also dis­abled, for ad­vice.

“[The two main char­ac­tersz have very dif­fer­ent views on what it is to live with a dis­abil­ity,” Cross­land said. “It’s about them try­ing to nav­i­gate a world that wasn’t cre­ated for them.”

The sit­u­a­tion the main char­ac­ter lives with makes “Catch­ing rp” at least some­what au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal, Cross­land said. He’s had feel­ings sim­i­lar to the ones his char­ac­ter ex­pe­ri­ences. Still, Cross­land said he “cre­ated” the story and that he didn’t “live” it.

“It’s based on some ex­pe­ri­ences, some feel­ings and thoughts I’ve had in my life,” Cross­land said. “I wrote the story. It’s not like I trans­lated it di­rectly from my life. Some of the thoughts and feel­ings are very real to me, but I made the story be­hind it.”

Cross­land, 24, grad­u­ated from Tem­ple with a de­gree in film and me­dia arts. He wanted to make some­thing he feels is lack­ing: a re­al­is­tic movie based around a dis­abled main char­ac­ter.

“I re­al­ized that movies about dis­abled char­ac­ters didn’t do it for me,” said Cross­land, who started writ­ing the movie about a year ago. “Ob­vi­ously most of them are made by peo­ple who haven’t lived that ex­pe­ri­ence. I felt like it was time to take a more re­al­is­tic, down-to-earth, can­did look at the sub­ject.”

Cross­land hopes to en­ter “Catch­ing rp” into film fes­ti­vals, with the ul­ti­mate dream be­ing the short film re­ceiv­ing enough pos­i­tive at­ten­tion to make it into a full-length fea­ture that the writer thinks would set it­self apart from oth­ers with sim­i­lar sto­ry­lines.

“Some films sort of mocked dis­abil­ity,” Cross­land said, adding that some movie mak­ers in­ten­tion­ally make fun of the dis­abled, while oth­ers don’t. “I don’t take that stuff per­son­ally, I just am not a fan of of­fen­sive hu­mor in gen­eral.”

His story is char­ac­ter­driven and of­fers a look into lives that Cross­land feels hasn’t been seen be­fore. He isn’t look­ing to make an au­di­ence cry. To quote a cliché, Cross­land just wants his movie to keep it real.

“There are plenty of movies about ‘nor­mal’ char­ac­ters that ex­plore their lives, their re­la­tion­ships, in­ter­ests, flaws, chal­lenges,” Cross­land said. “Why can’t we take a char­ac­ter who hap­pens to be dis­abled and do the same thing? We don’t have to show him learn­ing how to write with his feet to make au­di­ences cry. It’s just about the very real chal­lenges of liv­ing day to day life with a cer­tain con­di­tion.”

Cross­land used ex­pe­ri­ences in his own life to round out the film. He has ex­pe­ri­enced what he terms “ro­man­tic mis­steps” in his life, which will res­onate with au­di­ences.

“I feel it’s re­lat­able to ev­ery­one,” Cross­land said. “We’ve all been through it.”

What Cross­land needs now is fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance. Specif­i­cally, he needs $3,500 to com­plete the pro­ject af­ter putting as much of his own money into it as pos­si­ble. To make up the mone­tary dif­fer­ence, he’s gone to kick­starter.com, a web­site de­signed to help in­de­pen­dent artists fund their projects. To give Cross­land a hand, visit the site and search Catch­ing rp.

Bill Cross­land.

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