Filmmaker single-handedly brings ‘the city’ alive

Trenton filmmaker Patrick Pierre made his own movie after dreaming about since he was 14 years old.By Jess Maiuro

People run for safety as the echo of a gunshot reverberates throughout the streets. Amidst all this chaos a man stands unharmed and actually provokes the violence.

Why isn’t he running like all the others? That man is local filmmaker Patrick Pierre, shooting a scene for his new gangster movie The City is Mine.

“Excited?” Pierre said regarding the premiere. “Excited is not even the word. I am beyond excited.”

With a budget of $10,000, and without any permits from the city, Pierre shot The City is Mine throughout Trenton. He did call the mayor and other city officials first, who then notified the police officers so they were aware of what was going on. The mayor had no problem with it because Pierre was doing something positive on the streets.

“I am a sucker for the love story,” Pierre said. “I want to make the best love story ever.”

Despite all the violence in his new movie, Pierre confessed that his favorite genre of film is the love story. The writer/director was inspired at the age of 14 when he saw the movie Sweet Dreams starring country singer Patsy Kline. He said that anyone who goes to see his movie premiere should watch out for a love theme at the end.

“The love theme is universal,” Pierre said. “Everyone has loved someone. If you haven’t then there’s something wrong with you.”

Pierre filmed the entire movie while only going a little over the $10,000 budget. In this particular film there are 11 main actors with about 100 extras, some of whom are his friends, but Pierre always keeps things professional. His friends are not automatically guaranteed a spot in his movies. They have to audition like everyone else, but it is nothing personal. The quality of his film is something he is not willing to sacrifice.

Pierre started his career at 12 when he started writing poetry and short stories. As he got older, he started to write screenplays. He said that he was a writer first and a director second. According to Pierre, the key to making a good movie is having a good screenplay.

“You need to build characters first and create their background — what their favorite color is — and the dialogue,” he said.

He said that he doesn’t necessarily put a specific message into his movies, but if the audience takes one away, then that’s excellent. Pierre’s main purpose, he said, is to entertain.

“I did not have the opportunity to go to film school,” he said, “and it is nearly impossible to get someone in Hollywood to read your screenplay, so why don’t I just do it myself?”

The self-made filmmaker said that reading a lot is what helped him, and this is his best advice to those who are trying to get into screenwriting. He said that one of the most important books he read was the Screenwriters’ Handbook, which really helped him along. He also urges screenwriters to get out there and be hands-on. The first few films may be bad, but you will eventually get better through experience.

“There have been many movies that have inspired me since seeing Sweet Dreams, but that was the key movie that did a lot for me,” Pierre said.

Pierre’s films can be seen on his Web site, www.pierrefilms.com. His premiere for The City is Mine will take place Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Contemporary Auditorium at 176 W. State St. in Trenton and will begin at 6:30 p.m.

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