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Makers of 'Stealing Time' exhibit a sense for release

September 29, 2003|Robert W. Welkos

Working as Steven Spielberg's assistant on "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," "Amistad" and "Saving Private Ryan," Marc Fusco learned a lot -- lessons that proved valuable when it came to directing his first feature-length film, "Stealing Time."

Fusco said he learned camera movement, various ways of dealing with actors and even why it's important to have a full stomach at all times ("That's very important," Fusco says with a laugh, "otherwise you get very grumpy").

"Stealing Time" involves four college friends who stage the biggest bank robbery in U.S. history. It was produced on a shoestring $1.2 million budget, and the cast includes Scott Foley, Peter Facinelli, Ethan Embry and Charlotte Ayanna with an extended cameo by Jennifer Garner.

Even though they knew getting the film financed and shot would be difficult, nothing prepared Fusco, who co-wrote it with producer Michael Garrity for the difficulty in getting their movie released.

When distributors failed to show any enthusiasm, the filmmakers did something unusual -- they bypassed distributors and went directly to exhibitors.

Fusco said he and Garrity and producer Mike Gabrawy worked the phones. "We said, 'Let's call the big chains, let' s call Loews, let's call Pacific, let's call Landmark ...

To their delight, Pacific Theatres agreed to book their movie into three of the chain's biggest L.A.-area venues starting Friday: the Arclight in Hollywood, the Sherman Oaks Galleria and the Paseo in Pasadena. The film also is opening at Loews theaters in Chicago and Seattle.

"It's been a long road," said Fusco, who noted it has taken nearly five years to get the movie to the screen. But "we didn't want our movie to go straight to video. We have to have our mothers go into a theater and see the movie, you know?"

-- Robert W. Welkos

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