Donna’s House Productions to Film “Dirty Rhetoric” in Southampton this Summer

Long Island Production Company Donna’s House Productions will film its first feature film, “Dirty Rhetoric,” in Southampton this summer. 

Based in Mastic Beach, Donna’s House Productions aims to cultivate a local arts community and advance economic development in the area through the creation of original film content. The team’s past projects include short films “Whiskey Kills the Hunger” (2018), “Good Grief” (2018), “Brennen” (2017), “Call Me, Beautiful” (2018), “My House” (2016), and “Julie & Kay” (2016). Their forthcoming documentary film “Neighborhood Road and Around the Corner” is in production and their feature film “Bait & Tackle” is in development. 

The sunroom

Set in early 1950s America in a dilapidated château, “Dirty Rhetoric” follows seven strangers settling scores on the night of the Fourth of July as mysterious flashes of light fill the sky and, unbeknownst to the strangers, the end of the world is upon them. The film draws inspiration from films such as “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), “Parasite” (2019), and “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964). 

At the helm of this project is writer, director, and producer James Evans. Evans earned his MFA in Film at Stony Brook University. He has taught various undergraduate film classes at Stony Brook University in production, analysis, and screenwriting from 2017 to 2021. Evans has headed all Donna’s House Productions projects to date and in 2019, he founded the Mastic Beach Indie Film Festival. “The old cliché of history repeating itself is evident throughout the story, until it switches,” said Evans about “Dirty Rhetoric” in his director’s statement. “My hope with this piece [is] to bring the audience to a little world, in the middle of the woods, give them an hour and a half to live, and through humor, philosophizing, and revisionist history, begin a conversation of change — for a better tomorrow.” 

The production team also includes producer James Sharpe and producer and production designer Amy Gaipa. Sharpe has a background in developing commercials and managing multi-million dollar ad budgets for world leading communications technology companies. His work as a producer includes the forthcoming “Bait and Tackle,” “Tom of Your Life,” and “Big Fork.” The art house shorts he has directed have been played both domestically and internationally and as an actor, he has worked on films and TV shows such as “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Mad Men,” “Criminal Minds,” “Parks & Recreation,” and “Weeds and Hung.” 

Gaipa has acted in “Girl in the Straw Hat,” “Good Grief,” “Silver Tongues,” “La Vida Inesperada,” “Titanic,” and the Sloane readings at the Tribeca Film Festival, and has had on-stage roles in “Visiting Hours,” New York Madness shows, and with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Her work as a producer includes “The Trilogy of Lamentations” (in development), “Good Grief,” and “Whiskey Kills The Hunger,” and her work as a production designer includes “Poor Arthur,” “WKH,” “Div Kid,” “Christmas: 1987,” “Brennen,” “Good Grief,” and “MBMIFF.” She has been involved in the Mastic Beach Indie Film Festival since 2019. She earned her MFA in Film at Stony Brook University and is a member of SAG-AFTRA, Actors’ Equity Association, and is the 2021 recipient of the New York Women In Film & Television scholarship.

The great room

The filming of “Dirty Rhetoric” will take place on the Stony Brook Southampton campus. On June 28, Donna’s House Productions hosted a film set tour to present the locations that will be featured in the film, including the sunroom, the great room, and the fallout shelter. Each room is adorned with trinkets and decor characteristic of the 1950s, from typewriters to record players to folding cameras, creating an incredibly detailed and authentic backdrop to the story.   

The cast of the film includes Tovah Feldshuh, Julie Halston, Amy Gaipa, James Yaegashi, and James Sharpe. The film is currently in pre-production and production will begin on July 13.

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