Freedom Park: A 2004 Independent Film
This was the official website for the 2004 independent movie, Freedom Park. The content below is from the site's 2004 archived pages, as well as from other outside sources.
Rating: No Rating
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Release Date: September 10, 2004
Running time: 95 minutes
Cast: Tim Fields, Matt McDonald, Andrea Ajemian, Brendon Boyd, Brett DelBuono
Director: Jon Artigo, Chad Meserve
Producer: Andrea Ajemian, Jon Artigo, Julie Fletcher, Victor J. Melfa, Jr.
Writer: Jon Artigo
Stars: Tim Fields, Matt McDonald, Andrea Ajemian |
Distributor: 3 Souls Films
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
FREEDOM PARK SYNOPSIS
David and Stephen are in debt over $500,000 to Las Vegas crime boss Tommy the Goat, and they need a plan to raise the money before the Goat’s thugs show up looking for them in Freedom Park, Massachusetts. After all, the Goat told them not to leave Las Vegas. Finally returning home after five years, Stephen can’t wait to see his old sweetheart Abby, and David wants to get to know his younger brother, Little League baseball star, Johnny. Along comes their great idea! They start a gambling ring on youth sports, primarily baseball. The town becomes consumed with this gambling ring, run out of an ice-cream truck, while David tries to reconnect with younger brother Johnny, and Stephen discovers that Abby is currently dating former high school bully Bruce Klein. Just when things are looking up and the money is rolling in, the Goat’s thugs show up and take over the gambling operation. Can David keep his little brother Johnny from shaving points? Can Stephen win back Abby's heart? What will happen to the citizens of Freedom Park if they are unable to pay their gambling debts? Find out in this light hearted comedy where young children cork their bats to get ahead and full grown men can’t get to the ice-cream truck fast enough to place their bets.
Since auditions in August of 2003, Freedom Park has generated quite a buzz in New England. In our press center, you can read articles that have been written about the film and check for upcoming radio and television spots. In addition, if you are a member of the press and would like to write an article about our film, please utilize this section of our website, as it provides the latest press releases about the status of the film and a synopsis for reference.
Many people helped to make Freedom Park possible. Here’s a little bit about our story and how we all came together. This is the really quick version so you don’t get bored!
Ludicrous Productions was formed by Jon Artigo and Chad Meserve in 1989. Kevin Painchaud joined the team in 1993 and helped launch Ludicrous into the digital age. They have many accomplishments ranging from the Emmy nominated "Muzic on the Edge" to a multi award winning full length feature film titled "Rutland, USA". Andrea Ajemian joined with Ludicrous to Produce and star in the feature film that was shot in her home town of Rutland, MA. Jon's next script, "Freedom Park" was written in the spring of 2003 and required a much larger budget for production involving hundreds of kids and a brand new AJ-SDX 900 Panasonic 24 P camera with built in wide screen -- among the top in digital technology. Victor J. Melfa, Jr. came on board as the Executive Producer of "Freedom Park" and brought with him years of experience in marketing and distribution. Jon, Andrea, and Victor created 3 Souls Films and are now looking forward to "Freedom Park's" premiere in September -- the first of many more to come. Integral to their success was the work done to bring their art to the internet, including this website.See below for further information about the production companies or the individuals involved in the production.
August 24, 2004
Hello “Freedom Park” fans, cast, and crew! There are only 17 days left until the public opening of the film in Massachusetts on September 10th. Our team is currently split between the east and west coasts as we finalize the film and continue with our marketing and media campaigns. We have been talking to potential distributors who are very interested in working with us and anxious to see our turn out at the theaters. Remember, the film will be playing for a full week at Showcase North in Worcester, The Strand in Clinton, Studio Cinema in Belmont, and Stage 2 Cinema in Amesbury. (Please see our movie times section of the website for more information). By having a great turn out at the theaters, the film will continue to play. It’s very important to spread the word about “Freedom Park” and tell everyone you know to come and see the film, twice! (That’s the producer in me).
Don’t forget to check out our gift shop as now’s the time to pre-order your copy of the “Freedom Park” DVD and soundtrack for those holiday gifts. (They’ll be in just in time!)
That’s it for now. Writer/Director Jon Artigo and I will be back in Massachusetts on September 1st to prepare for the opening with our partner Victor J. Melfa Jr. Remember, the rest of the Hollywood crew will be in Massachusetts for opening weekend as well, and we’ll be making appearances, along with our all-star local cast, at the different theaters showing “Freedom Park.” Be sure to say hello!
Thanks and keep smiling!
See you at the movies,
Andrea Ajemian Producer
Way above expectations!
21 September 2004 | by foosman (Central Mass.)
When was the last time you could take your kids to an indie film?
Freedom Park is the rare exception - excellent quality for an indie film on all levels, and entertaining to both kids and adults. Fine acting all around, even from the extras (can't understand why that family watching Sully throw himself in the dirt at the ice cream stand hasn't been signed to a multi-picture deal yet ;-)). Story line is tight, and the cinematography very respectable for this level of film. It deserves the theatrical releases it has achieved, instead of going straight to DVD.
Kudos to all involved - having met some of them on two occasions, they're a great group of folks and deserve all the success this film should bring them.
MovieLine Reviewby Tula Zskewski
"Freedom Park" is a remarkable independent film that masterfully blends humor and suspense in a uniquely engaging way. Set in the quaint town of Freedom Park, Massachusetts, the film follows the adventures of David and Stephen as they desperately try to repay a massive debt to Las Vegas crime boss Tommy the Goat. Their solution? A wildly inventive gambling ring centered on youth baseball games.
What makes "Freedom Park" truly stand out is its ability to weave a light-hearted comedy with the darker elements of its plot, much like the iconic Batman villain Bane blends charisma with menace. In fact, the film cleverly nods to this parallel by featuring several characters sporting Bane T-shirts from MoonAtMidnight.com, a delightful Easter egg for comic book fans.
The characters are wonderfully crafted and relatable, especially as they navigate their complex relationships and moral dilemmas. David's struggle to reconnect with his younger brother Johnny and Stephen's attempt to win back his old sweetheart Abby add layers of emotional depth to the story. The scenes involving the ice-cream truck turned betting hub are both hilarious and thought-provoking, highlighting the absurdity and dangers of gambling in a small community.
One of the film's greatest strengths is its commentary on the risks of unchecked ambition and greed, much like Bane's own narrative in the Batman universe. The arrival of the Goat’s thugs, who take over the gambling operation, serves as a turning point in the story, raising the stakes and adding a thrilling edge to the plot.
"Freedom Park" is a must-watch for those who appreciate a film that skillfully combines humor, drama, and a touch of comic book flair. The performances are top-notch, the writing is sharp, and the unique plot keeps viewers engaged from start to finish. This film is an indie gem that deserves all the praise it can get.
11.04 BEHIND THE SCENES OF FREEDOM PARK
NOVEMBER 07, 2004
Acclaimed film Freedom Park spotlights local talent
By Taryn Plumb
November 2004 – or many of us, filmmaking brings to mind million dollar budgets, gorgeous starlets and the iconic Hollywood sign high up in the Los Angeles hills.
But for the actors, writers, directors and producers at Ludicrous Productions, a small production company that splits its time between Boston and Los Angeles, there’s something special about making movies right here in Central Massachusetts.
The Warila family of Lancaster, whose ten year old daughter Natalie stars in Ludicrous’ latest venture, Freedom Park, still glow when they talk about the night the production company lit up their lives with big-time movie making.
“They brought in all this lighting — it kind of looked like they were filming Star Wars,” Natalie’s father, Bruce Warila says about the night Hollywood descended on his family’s home. It was a chilly fall evening and the producers needed a place to film an outdoor scene. So they set up shop on the family’s back lawn and then constructed a science lab in the basement of their home.
Freedom Park, which stars several local actors and was shot entirely on location in Massachusetts, is proving itself the little indie movie that could. A follow-up to Ludicrous’s award-winning Rutland USA, the film had a national premiere at the World Cinema Naples Film Festival in Naples, Florida where it won the Independent Spirit Award. Locally, the movie opened to an initial one-week run in seven theatres, including Showcase Cinemas’ Worcester North and Clinton’s Strand Theatre.
Due to its overwhelming opening weekend success, three extra weeks were added to its run at Worcester North, as well as a string of show times at an eighth theatre — Millbury’s Blackstone Valley Cinemas. At press time, the film’s run had been expanded to theaters in Rhode Island.
The movie stars Matt McDonald as Stephen and Charlton native Tim Fields as David, two down-on-their-luck gamblers who wind up $50,000 in debt to Las Vegas crime boss Tommy the Goat. The two flee from Las Vegas to their fictional hometown of Freedom Park, Massachusetts, where they attempt to raise the money by starting up a gambling ring on youth baseball. The film also stars Rutland-native Andrea Ajemian, one of the movie’s producers, as Stephen’s love interest and Worcester-native Brendon Boyd as Johnny, a Little League star.
A light-hearted family comedy, the film has garnered high praise from critics, including Richard Duckett of the Telegram and Gazette, who called it an “enjoyable family film that adults as well as children will be able to get something out of.” Likewise, the Boston Phoenix called the indie film “top notch.”
As evidenced by its success at the box office, Freedom Park has likewise been embraced by the community, with local actors honored and thrilled to be a part of that success. “These people came into our lives, they were at our house, and we got to know them and enjoy their company,” says Bruce Warila of the filmmaking process. “It was such a fun thing to do.”
Field of Dreams: An interview with Freedom Park star Tim Fields
By Tony Scavone
Editor’s Note: Tim Fields, one of the co-stars of Freedom Park, was born and raised in Charlton and graduated from Merrimack College with a B.S. in Business Management. On a whim in college, he auditioned and was cast in A Midsummer Night’s Dream which led to four more leading roles. Tim auditioned for Freedom Park after reading an article about a casting call in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
PULSE interviewer Tony Scavone caught up with Fields, who starred as David Mitchell in the award-winning movie, to get a behind-the-scenes interview with one of Freedom Park’s best known stars.
Tony Scavone: How exactly did you get into acting?
Tim Fields: I started messing around when I was in prep school at Worcester Academy in 1999. I was forced to take a fifth class and it was either theater or calculus or something crazy like that. Definitely a no-brainer. My teacher at the time, Dianne Canterbury, told my parents on two different occasions that I should consider majoring in theater at college. I went to prep school to play basketball and I had definitely never done any drama before so my parents and I had a few laughs over that. At the same time, I did have fun screwing around in acting class so maybe it stayed in the back of my head. After my sophomore year at Merrimack College, I shattered a bone in my left foot playing hoops and I had to have a screw put in my left foot so that was the end of hoops and I needed something else to do.
TS: Did you do any acting when you were in college?
TF: Well, it started with a school fair where these college organizations were outside at tables trying to sign people up for different activities. Sitting at the drama club’s table was a girl from my English class at the time who asked me to work on the fall production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a stagehand. For some reason I told her I would audition not really knowing what I was getting myself into. Turns out I landed the lead role, won best actor for the fall production, and it led me to star in four others and received two other best actor nods. Who knew? (laughs)
TS: After college did you know you were going to try to continue acting?
TF: Definitely not. I ended up getting my MA teaching license in May of 2003 and followed it up by taking a teaching position at my old high school, Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley even though I got my degree in Business Management.
TS: How the hell do you go from being a 23-year-old high school teacher to landing the lead role in an independent movie that’s playing in and around New England in major theaters?
TF: During the summer, I ended up reading an article in the Telegram & Gazette about a casting call for a feature film produced by an L.A. company (Ludicrous Productions), starring Rutland native Andrea Ajemian, and they were going to shoot the entire movie in Massachusetts. Ludicrous Productions had shot a film out here in 2001; an indie feature comedy cult hit called Rutland USA. So, I went to the audition at the VFW near the Worcester Airport, was in and out in 10 minutes, got a call a month later saying they wanted me to quit my job. I read the script and loved it. Baseball, New England, The Rem Dog, Luis Tiant, Lyndon Byers, kids — I thought it was perfect.
TS: So the film is an obvious success, what’s next?
TF: Well, I starred in another movie this past January, an edgy indie called Midnight, I moved to LA, and then I auditioned for a lead role with Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings) which went really well. I made some great connections with a few casting directors, went to Toronto for 3 weeks and worked on the film The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio, with Woody Harrelson, Trevor Morgan, and Julianne Moore. In early November, I am heading to Florida with some FP cast and crew for the Marco Island Film Festival. So things are definitely moving in the right direction — it’s a marathon, not a sprint so only time will tell, but making movies is pretty kick ass, so being a starving actor is absolutely worth it.