set in Fall River
MICHAEL W. FREEMAN, Herald News Staff Reporter May 18, 2001
Independent filmmaker Robert Manuels stands
beside a poster advertising his first major production,
"Two Good Guys" which will have a few special
showings at the New Harbour Mall cinema this week.
FALL RIVER -- It's
been a long, tough road for Robert Manuels, but by
tonight, it should all be worth it.
He plans to attend a local movie theater, where a sold
out crowd is expected to show up and watch the
independent film "Two Good Guys," which Manuels
wrote, directed and stars in.
The Fall River native has been sweating bullets all
week, nervously hoping that everything goes smoothly. But
he's optimistic that audiences will enjoy the film about
two guys living in Fall River who get caught up in the
"I'm so happy now," he said. "People
will see it and say it was worth every minute."
Area residents can watch this historic film tonight
through Sunday at the New Harbour Mall Cinema 8. It will
be shown tonight at 9 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., and
Sunday at 4 p.m. All three quickly sold out, so a fourth
showing was added on Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets are
available at My Daily Grind in Harbour Mall.
After that, Manuels has booked a showing at the
Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. He hopes to book it
at other local cinemas in the months ahead, and has also
entered it in next month's Nantucket Film Festival.
It took a long time for "Two Good Guys" to
move from being just an idea to hitting a big screen.
Four years ago, at the age of 22, Manuels enrolled in
the Boston Film/Video Foundation, an independent film
school that teaches the nuts and bolts of filmmaking.
He purchased his own equipment, then started working
on the script.
"I actually wrote the script at the end of summer
1998, then started preparing everything, getting the
proper equipment in early 1999," he said. "In
the spring I started casting for the movie,"
choosing local actors he had studied with at Bristol
Filming began in the summer of 1999. "It was very
hot," he said. "It was so tough. We just dealt
with it. It was long days. We worked 40-50 hours a week,
and without sleep."
At the same time, he was working full time as a driver
for The Herald News.
"People used to ask me, "How are you still
awake," he said. "I was because I didn't want
to see my ship sink."
"We were filming at Maplewood Park, and it was so
hot everybody was sweating to death," said Lina
Farias, who plays Darryl's girlfriend. "A lemonade
truck came by and we were all screaming Stop! We tried to
flag it down. Another time, the police came out. They
didn't know we were filming there. "Manuels got a lot
of strength and inspiration during the production from
his family. His brother, Jamie, served as the
cinematographer, and his parents, Richard and Elaine
Manuels, provided emotional support.
He thanks all three of them "for giving me the
ingredients inside to do something extraordinary. I' m
not from a rich family, but I'm very fortunate to come
from a great family."
This is only the second independent film made in Fall
River, said Michael Martins, curator of The Fall River
The first, "Below The Hill," was made in
1963 by the late Angus Bailey, a well-known director and
performer with the Little Theatre of Fall River.
Beyond that, Martins said, film crew's have rarely
ventured into the city, except for the occasional
documentary, most of them focusing on the Lizzie Borden
That's what makes "Two Good Guys" so
significant, Martins said.
The film has generated some controversy. Mayor Edward
M. Lambert Jr. read about the film's plot and became
nervous about how Fall River would be depicted.
"I certainly wish him well," the mayor said.
"However, what I read about it seemed to suggest
Fall River would be portrayed as a drug haven. I'm not
quite sure he's doing his hometown a favor. You want the
community to be promoted, and you want to encourage all
types of entrepreneurial activities, but you want your
city portrayed in a positive light."
Manuels insists his film does that, by showing how two
city residents escape the lure of the drug world and how
their often-harrowing experiences strengthen their bond.
"It's a movie about friendship. Ultimately,
that's what it comes down to," he said. "It's a
movie about growing up. The script is based on a
friendship I have, and the drug activity in the movie is
a twist to create a conflict."
As he searches for cinema bookings and film festivals
to enter, Manuels said he's already started planning for
a second feature.
"I've got a lot of ideas for what I want to do in
the future," he said. "I'm definitely going to
do another one.
"He also hopes to be an inspiration to other
aspiring filmmakers, though he cautions them that it's
not only very hard work, but quite expensive.
"It was $800 here and $2,000 there," he
said. "The sound mix cost me $3,500. Then there's
the cut of the negative -- the guy who takes the negative
of whole movie and cuts it together. Every edit you see
in the movie, it goes for $5 a cut."
Still, he said the cost was well worth it.
"The reason I did this is I wanted to be
respected as a filmmaker," he said. "There's a
big difference between film and video. In terms of the
picture quality, my film really looks nice. For it to
come out as good as this is really great. Even the guys
in the lab were amazed with the movie."
Tonight, Manuels will find out if audiences agree.
Herald News 2001
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