Over a Labor Day weekend typically reserved for backyard barbecues and the last of summer’s sun, one Rye native was hard at work bringing her creative vision to fruition.
By Georgetta L. Morque
Over a Labor Day weekend typically reserved for backyard barbecues and the last of summer’s sun, one Rye native was hard at work bringing her creative vision to fruition. Laura Pellegrini, a 2007 Rye High School graduate, spent the long weekend in Westchester shooting her new film, “In Parallel.”
Designed as a short and earmarked for film festivals, the drama is about a young woman who encounters a stranger who encourages her to abandon the familiar and embrace the unknown. Pellegrini, who is an actor in New York, started writing the story in 2012, drawing from images and her personal experiences. This is the second film she has written, produced, and directed. Once the film festival application process is complete, she hopes to stream “In Parallel” online this spring.
Many may remember Pellegrini from her performances at the RHS PAC. What put an acting career on the map, she said, was her role as the mother in “The Diary of Anne Frank.” “It was an emotionally exhausting experience,” she recalled with fond memories working with Helen Cannistraci and Todd Beaney. She also took a film production class with Vincent Baione.
Acting became her passion and she earned a theater scholarship to Manhattanville College where she became immersed in finetuning her craft, performing in Shakespeare productions and student teaching. She graduated with a degree in theater education. Since then, she has been involved in theater productions in the city and has appeared in short films as well as feature films, including the leading role in “Home By Now,” directed by Ash Yagnik. Currently she’s starring in “Pentimento,” a feature film in pre-production about a Romanian immigrant.
Between taking classes, teaching, auditioning, networking, and cultivating groups of like-minded talent, Pellegrini is primed for more projects, both acting and filmmaking. “I love the intimacy of film,” said Pellegrini, who believes filmmaking has helped make her a better actor. She has plenty more stories to tell and people to collaborate with.
For “In Parallel,” she was able to put together a crew and cast including two Manhattanville graduates and Rye’s Ed Szamborski, who played the role of a therapist and had a fascinating experience being part of the project.
There are always obstacles in this type of business, according to Pellegrini, but that doesn’t stop her from forging ahead. Her advice to aspiring artists: “Be fearless and unmerciful. Do not break down, no matter what people tell you and find a good group of people to work with. There’s a delicate balance of finding people who are supportive of your vision and those who want to take over. Protect your magic.”
— Photos by Ed Szamborski