Lights, Camera and an Award: Jonathan Salemi Takes Award at Boston Film Festival

May 20, 2014
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Boston has been good to Jonathan Salemi.

The Revere native continues to build onto his movie directing library and the Boston International Film Festival last month was yet another stab at success.

Salemi returned with another short film entered into the festival this year, this one called ‘Chasing the Past,’ and took back to California the award for Best Cinematography in front of a large hometown crowd.

“It was nice to win that award and a real affirmation that we are doing a good job with our films,” he said.

Salemi, 35, is a Revere High and Salem State graduate that moved to Hollywood several years ago and scraped together equipment and film stock while also working a full time day job. Balancing work and on-location film shoots, he was able to produce his first film ‘Ante Up.’ That first venture caught enough eyes for him to get other opportunities, and every since then he has continued on building up his experience and his repertoire.

In 2010, he was accepted into the Boston festival for the short film ‘Sidewalk Symphony.’

In his  most recent film, Salemi said he ventures into the world of lost souls and time travellers.

The film features a character that loses his girlfriend to a tragic accident and then decides to separate himself from society in the high desert. While out in the desert, he comes across a time traveller.

“The idea came from one of my own personal struggles,” Salemi told the Journal. “There was a period in my life when several of my grandparents passed away and I broke up with my long-term girlfriend. It was an introspective time. The character here in this movie is an exaggeration of myself. The story is told through science fiction and romance and the actual story was from my own life, but an exaggeration of what I was feeling.”

It’s part of a new vein that Salemi said he has been exploring lately to tell his stories through high, science fiction concepts.

“I can tell these stories and disguise them under a high concept,” he said. “I think before, I just put everything on the surface and now I look to hide my feelings in the story. It’s not hitting you over the head.”

Part of the most recent project for Salemi involved researching some unusual material – including books on time travel and watching several episodes of the popular ‘Ancient Aliens’ television show.

“I actually did do a lot of research on time travel,” he said. “I think a lot of this came from watching that ‘Ancient Aliens’ TV show. I was watching that and thinking of how I could relate it to my story. I actually bought a couple of time travel books to explore how time travel could be possible and I even researched a lot about quantum physics. One book I read was ‘Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe.’ I read that and others before I started writing the screenplay so I would be prepared.”

He said he is currently working on an action/sci-fi type short film with his cousin, Steven D’Arcangelo, who also lives in California.

“There are a lot more inquiries and opportunities for me now,” he said. “I don’t want to say it’s easier, but there’s now a body of work that I have and from that people get a good sense of what I can make.”

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