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Westport Photographer Completes Film With Connecticut Actors

The cast in part, from left, Tom Golden, Laurent Mullen, Neal Smith, Victor Mercado, Alex Ziwak, Ken Walsh, Jeff Saresky, John Gatto, Mike Ziniak, Tommy DeLaurentis and Alberto Lopez.
The cast in part, from left, Tom Golden, Laurent Mullen, Neal Smith, Victor Mercado, Alex Ziwak, Ken Walsh, Jeff Saresky, John Gatto, Mike Ziniak, Tommy DeLaurentis and Alberto Lopez. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Westport photographer Jayson Byrd -- who has shot everyone from Paul Newman to Bob Dylan to Jean Stapleton and Morris Carnovsky -- recently completed a full-length independent film with 40-plus Connecticut actors on location in more than 30 communities between Ansonia and Stamford.

The film is titled “Desolation Angeles/Rise of the BOAS” and features Neal Smith, a Westport resident and the founding drummer in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Alice Cooper.

He plays a ruthless Russian mob boss in this action adventure, which is based on morality issues raised in classical Greek mythology, according to a press release.

A group of mercenaries is hired by a covert government agency to disrupt the relationship between the Russians and Mexican drug cartels, the release said. The plot focuses on the question: Are we  able to change our fate or is life predestined?

Smith also wrote and orchestrated the title theme song for the two-hour black-and-white film that Byrd created digitally as writer/director and producer; the film is largely self-funded.

Three years of shooting on location went into the production and virtually all of the performers, friends of Byrd’s, appeared for credit rather than a salary. Byrd said his intention now is to give the production exposure in film festivals across the United States.

Byrd is widely known as the onetime photographer for Westport Playhouse and Music Theatre of Connecticut, as well as Shakespeare on the Sound in Rowayton, American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Darien Dinner Theater, Stamford Playhouse and Polka Dot Playhouse in Bridgeport.

He was among the original resident artists at the Westport Arts Center.

Born in New York City, Byrd spent his formative years traveling through Europe and developed a Continental visual sense of style, also influenced by the portrait and fashion work of David Bailey, Francesco Scavullo and Irving Penn.

The list of luminaries he has photographed also include James Earl Jones, Christopher Plummer, John Lithgow, Victoria Tennant, Charles Keating, Dudley Moore and Jerry Stiller.

His advertising photography has appeared in magazines such as Vogue, WWD, Esquire, ELLE, GQ and Town & Country.

Byrd's fashion clients include Brioni, Givenchy and Donna Haag.

To learn more about “Desolation Angeles/Rise of the BOAS," visit its Facebook page.

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