What you’ll probably love most about Blue Point movie maker Deirdre O’Connor’s new film “One Moment” is that just about every moment in the film feels like home.
There are scenes inside Cornucopia Natural Foods, Dorothy’s Fine Jewelry and Bistro 25 in Sayville, as well at Corey Beach and the old St. Ursula’s in Blue Point. A big chunk of the family flick was recorded at the Blue Goose restaurant in Patchogue.
“We were all over Blue Point, Sayville and Long Island,” said O’Connor, whose three-bedroom, Cape Cod house in Blue Point served as a primary film set for “One Moment” during 20 days of recording in July and August 2019.
“These businesses were so good to us. At Blue Goose, we were there all day and ran into their dinner hour,” she continued. “Cornucopia let us in to film before they opened. We even used Dorothy from Dorothy’s Fine Jewelry in the jewelry store scene.”
Another aspect of “One Moment” that will touch your heart is that it posthumously stars legendary actor Danny Aiello.
A 1990 Academy Award nominee for his role as a proud Italian-American and pizza shop owner in “Do the Right Thing,” Aiello, in his final film, plays Joe McGuiness, a recently widowed father of four 40-something adults.
The elderly patriarch struggles with forgetfulness and losing his independence, while his children balance caring for him and looking after their own kids. “Welcome to the sandwich generation,” goes the movie’s tagline.
The story continues below the trailer.
The film is already piling up the accolades. Earlier this month, it was named Best Comedy at the 15th annual Beaufort International Film Festival in South Carolina.
Aiello, 86, who died suddenly in December 2019 — two months after O’Connor finished filming “One Moment” — was posthumously awarded Best Actor.
Next up is Sillicon Valley’s Cinaquest Film & Creativity Festival. Being held online this year, the event goes from March 20-30.
The San Jose Mercury News tapped O’Connor’s debut film as one of “12 films to see” at the virtual fest. The event will showcase 111 movies. Viewers will have an opportunity to rate the movie; the ratings will be used to determine the Audience Favorite Award.
Between the production and success of the movie, the heartbreaking loss of Aiello and the hurdles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the last 18 months have been a whirlwind of emotions for O’Connor, a Nassau Community College communications professor who wrote nine other feature-length screenplays that never reached the big screen.
“I wrote ‘One Moment’ in a way that I knew we could film it on our own,” she said. “It’s a simple story, and it was written knowing what we had access to.”
O’Connor’s independent film didn’t cost a fortune, but without a distribution deal in place, it still required a significant chunk of change.
“I had a friend tell me, ‘You don’t have kids. So look at this as what the cost of tuition would have been if you had children,'” O’Connor, 54, said. “I ended up naming one of the characters after her.”
Once she had the screenplay written, O’Connor had her heart set on Aiello playing the lead. She thought she may have been reaching for the stars, so to speak, but her casting director suggested that she write Aiello a letter.
Along with a hard copy of her script, O’Connor sent Aiello that letter in January 2019. She wrote how she could easily see him playing the lead character “who exudes toughness, warmth, and charm.” She told him that he would provide the “authenticity of a true New Yorker.”
“I wrote that letter quickly because it absolutely came straight from my heart,” she said. “He got back to me and said he loved the script and wanted to meet.”
O’Connor added that “once Danny was on board, it opened a lot of doors” for the movie.
And working with Aiello was a breeze.
“He carries the film. He never tired. He never complained,” O’Connor said. “He was so good to work with, and so good to know. I really came to love him. Everybody did.”
Aiello was joined on the cast by veterans Adria Tennor and Frankie Ingrassia. Bayport-Blue Point High School alumna Sasha (Ernst) Georgette is granddaughter to Aiello’s character and current Bayport-Blue Point High School student Andrew Brooks makes his big-screen debut.
“Danny was able to have chemistry with each and every actor, but also with the crew. He just connected with everybody at an individual level,” O’Connor said. “He put everyone at ease. We all worked very well together. As tiring and difficult as it was, we really enjoyed all of our time together.”
Filmed ‘all over’ Long Island
Dozens of Long Island businesses, parks and neighborhoods are featured in “One Moment.” Use the list below as a checklist, marking the boxes as you see each location in the film
Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead
Saint Joseph’s Academy and Convent in Brentwood
Sayville Congregational Church
Jones Beach State Park
Robert Moses Beach State Park
Robert Moses Bridge
Corey Beach in Blue Point
Saint Ursula’s Retreat Center – exterior (future home of the Bayport-Blue Point Public Library) in Blue Point
Nassau Community College
Neighborhood streets in Blue Point, Bayport and Sayville
Blue Goose restaurant in Patchogue
Blue Point Barber Shop in Blue Point
Cavanaugh’s in Blue Point
Tom’s Auto Body in Blue Point
Dorothy’s Fine Jewelry in Sayville
Cornucopia Natural Foods in Sayville
Century 21 Bays Edge Realty in Sayville
Leonard Van Kalmthout, DM; medical office in Sayville
Bistro 25 restaurant in Sayville
Photos of the cast and crew
The photos above were provided by Little Red Purse Productions. Check back at GreaterSayville.com for updates on the progress of “One Moment” or click here to visit Little Red Purse’s Facebook page.