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Director Jonathan Bucari rebuffed on film tied to Newtown

UPI News Service, 02/05/2013 

A director is facing a backlash for wanting to make a film near Newtown, Conn., about a mentally ill teen and his parents' fears after the Sandy Hook shootings.

"I will do everything in my power to prevent this," Ridgefield, Conn., First Selectman Rudy Marconi told The (Danbury) News-Times after Jonathan Bucari and a film crew scouted locations in Ridgefield over the weekend, including an elementary school.

The psychological wounds from the Dec. 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 schoolchildren and six adult staff members dead are still too fresh, Marconi told WVIT-TV, West Hartford.

"Mr. Bucari is going to have to find another location," Marconi, a Democrat, told the TV station. "It will not be in Ridgefield."

Ridgefield, a town of 25,000 in southwestern Connecticut, is about 18 miles from Newtown, population 27,000.

Marconi, whose position as first selectman means he's the town's chief executive and administrative officer, told WVIT he received dozens of phone calls from constituents complaining about the film possibility.

But Bucari, who grew up and went to film school in France, says on Facebook, "We are not making a movie about what happened in Newtown and never will do so."

The film, titled "Illness," is about mental illness and uses Newtown as a context, producer Carina Rush says in a message on the Indiegogo "crowd funding" website.

She describes the film, for which she seeks $3,000 through Indiegogo, as being "about the tragic fate of Benjamin, a 13-year-old boy with a terrible mental illness, and the ever-growing fear of his parents after they learn about the shooting in Newtown."

Bucari, who lives 20 miles west of Newtown and 12 miles northwest of Ridgefield in the Hudson Valley village of Brewster, N.Y., told News 12 Connecticut he selected Ridgefield "because it has the same look and feel as Newtown."

He says on Facebook he plans to dedicate the film "to the victims of the shooting in Newtown."

Rush says on Indiegogo any money the film earns from film festival awards "will be used for the formation of a foundation to help the many families with children struggling with mental illness."

"We believe that everyone can relate to this film and that we can make an impact on mental illness," her Indiegogo fundraising pitch says.

Bucari -- whose Internet Movie Database biography says he directed a TV pilot titled "The Sacrificial Lamb" last year and is planning a feature-length film titled "Max's Fantastic Adventures" -- did not immediately respond to a message from United Press International seeking comment.

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