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Weston Students Pursue Big-Screen Dreams

Three Weston High School students are closing their senior year with a premiere.

"Consequential Lies" is the third film by the young trio. It tells the story of a suburbanite with an 18-year-old secret that’s about to be exposed, and officially debuts April 23 at the Fairfield Community Theatre, 1424 Post Road. The students, Alex Fjellberg Swerdlowe, Ricky Rivera and Joey DePasquale, have already won film festival awards for an earlier effort.

“No one else does this at our age,” says Swerdlowe, the writer, director and producer of the 17-minute film. Rivera co-produced and was the assistant director and DePasquale was the producer.

“Everything is bigger,” DePasquale says, comparing this project to the filmmakers’ previous works.

The crew for “Consequential Lies” included specialty workers that the students did not have for their break-out film “The Complex,” which earned awards at four film festivals. For “Lies” they enlisted a cinematographer, who specializes in lighting and shooting, as well as a sound professional. In all, there were more than 10 crew members and five actors.

"Consequential Lies" was shot in August with the crew working 12-hour shifts for four days straight. Swerdlowe wanted to write a script about loneliness in suburbia that included a “nagging problem, eating away at someone for years and years and years.” The main character is played by Kimberly Lowden.

Swerdlowe worked on the script from March until August, writing 19 drafts. The 12-page document was finished the day before filming.

“We still need to learn how to tell a good story in a short amount of time,” says Swerdlowe, whose goal is to direct a feature-length film by the time he’s 27.

The film is an official selection at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth and the Westport Youth Film Festival and was also an official selection at the Litchfield Hills Film Festival.

Film festivals “are the most amazing thing in the world” and cater to the independent filmmakers who are still working on making it, said Swerdlowe.

The group’s first major project was “Dual,” a horror film. “It was very different. We learned the most from ‘The Complex.’ We learned a lot about storytelling and how the strength of the story is the key," says Rivera.

“Seeing how a variety of people react to the film shows how good you did in telling the story,” he says.

Swerdlowe and DePasquale will attend New York University Film School in August and still plan to make short films each year.

“Weston High School sparked my interest,” says Swerdlowe. He credits videography and film studies teacher Dave Eger with being very supportive and helpful.

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