NEW MILFORD – Canterbury College, Harrybrooke Park and Financial institution Avenue are simply a number of the acquainted New Milford websites featured within the faith-based movie “The Thursday Night time Membership,” which was shot in New Milford this previous March. The movie is now airing on Pure Flix Leisure (a division of Sony) and can play via the vacation season. Icon singer Gloria Gaynor makes her performing debut within the movie.
Tailored from Steven Manchester’s 2014 novella, “The Thursday Night time Membership” is about 5 faculty college students who’re impressed to look outdoors themselves to assist others and tackle tasks to provide again to these in want. Manchester’s novella was tailored into an audio drama podcast collection in 2019, that includes actress Kathleen Turner, YouTube star Kurt Hugo Schneider and worldwide singing sensation Madilyn Bailey.
Valerie Smaldone, director and government producer of the movie adaption, mentioned the corporate producing the podcast was impressed to adapt “The Thursday Night time Membership” into a movie.
“The movie is actually about kindness,” Smaldone mentioned of the story’s message. “It seems like a really broad subject, however on this planet we dwell in right now, we’re residing in chaotic and turbulent instances and I imagine lots of people suppose that we’re in powerful waters… This film is actually designed to provide folks a message of ‘Assume outdoors your self, pay it ahead, be sort.’”
Smaldone mentioned from a non secular degree, the movie can be about following indicators “which can be in entrance of you that provide you with a sign of the best way to transfer ahead in your life.”
Although they initially deliberate to shoot scenes at New Milford Hospital, Smaldone mentioned the reemergence of COVID-19 circumstances that occurred earlier this 12 months prevented them from being contained in the hospital. As a substitute, she mentioned they created their very own units and that New Milford Hospital offered them with tools.
Calling it “a extremely fast shoot,” Smaldone mentioned “The Thursday Night time Membership” began filming in March and accomplished taking pictures by the tip of the month. The “unusually chilly” climate labored within the workforce’s favor, she mentioned, provided that the story takes place on the finish of the 12 months.
In addition to recruiting native residents as extras, Smaldone mentioned they introduced Thomas Koobatian, the medical director at New Milford Hospital, onto the movie as an additional, starring alongside singer Gloria Gaynor in her movie performing debut.
Wanting so as to add authenticity to one of many story arcs, Smaldone mentioned she needed to forged an actual bone marrow donor in a scene a few younger lady that wants a bone marrow transplant. In her analysis on bone marrow donors, she discovered Mike Mushaw. In 2017, Mushaw, then a linebacker at Central Connecticut State College in New Britain, signed up for the bone marrow donor registry and donated life-saving bone marrow to a younger lady in Virginia who’d been recognized with a uncommon immunodeficiency.
Smaldone mentioned she reached out to Mushaw to ask if he needed to be within the movie, and he mentioned sure. On the movie’s finish, she mentioned Mushaw is featured in a brief video the place he talks about his personal bone marrow donation and the way folks can discover out extra about donating.
“I felt that the authenticity of getting an precise bone marrow donor within the movie gave it lots of coronary heart,” Smaldone mentioned, including additionally they labored with Be The Match and Andy Talley Bone Marrow Basis to advertise their initiatives towards bone marrow donations.
Smaldone mentioned the movie’s second distributor, BMG, will take “The Thursday Night time Membership” to different platforms nationally and internationally within the new 12 months.
By way of seeing New Milford featured on the large display, Smaldone mentioned, “I can inform you, once I see a spot that I do know or a spot the place I lived, it’s a familiarity that’s like no different whenever you see it depicted in a tv present or a film. It’s very thrilling as a result of it brings to gentle on a nationwide degree the place you reside.”
She added, “It’s a easy story of kindness and love and neighborhood that I feel the world must see after tough instances.”