Elmore Puts Out First Full-Length Film

Rasa Fournier
Wednesday - October 10, 2007
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Milan Tresnak as Jared and Jane Benney as Alicia in 'All For Melissa.' Photo by Dean Sensui.
Milan Tresnak as Jared and Jane Benney as Alicia in ‘All For Melissa.’ Photo by Dean Sensui.

All For Melissa marks filmmaker Makakilo resident Gerard Elmore’s sixth year of participation in independent film festivals.

His 2005 short film, Valtor the Great vs. the Universe, won Elmore Honolulu magazine’s Best Short Film Award. His 2004 submission Amasian: The Amazing Asian also brought him recognition in the film-festival circuit. This year’s All For Melissa is his first feature-length film.

All For Melissa was inspired by a random conversation with a casting director, explained Elmore. “I was talking about actresses I admired and the idea of trying to make a movie and having that person act in the movie.”

The film stars Milan Tresnak as Jared, a young man whose obsession with a movie star causes him to overlook his friend Alicia (played by Jane Benney), who is already there for him. The feel-good romantic comedy is also a coming-of-age story reflecting Elmore’s own experiences.

“A lot of this was from my life and from my heart,” he revealed.“I was wrestling at the time with moving away, going to L.A. and pursuing other things. I was coming to grips and realizing that Hawaii is my home and where I should be. This is kind of my letter to Hawaii, and the characters in it are based on people I know and stories I know.”

Elmore not only wrote, directed, produced and is editing the feature, he also plays the role of Brandon, Jared’s best friend. His passion and dedication to the project drummed up a cast of about 40.

“This is really like a million-dollar film, and we made it for a fraction of that,” said Elmore. “A lot of people donated their time and resources and gave their aloha to make it happen. I was really excited, and they saw the excitement and they wanted to help. I didn’t have a big budget - it’s all coming out of my wallet, so it was all favors and pleading and begging, but we made something that looks like it’s worth a lot more, and it’s because there were a lot of people who believed in the project.”

Elmore, currently a director at Shooters producing commercials, traveled as a video correspondent with the NASCAR circuit for Crown Royal all of last year. The gig earned him enough money to come home and begin filming in January.

There is no shortage of West Oahu talent contributing to the project - folks Elmore describes as “the Westside stronghold, kind of the meat of the whole thing.” Vince Keala Lucero of Kapolei donated his camera and gave up other jobs to give the movie his full attention. He also acted as a producer, assistant cameraman and digital imaging technician.

Elmore’s roommate, Scott Mason, was on hand as the “everything man,” helping with gripping, sound and serving as the line producer and as an editor.

Luke Aguinaldo of Waipahu filled the role of second assistant director, casting director and associate producer. Dean Sensui of Waipio Gentry was a producer and glide camera operator. Maxwell Smart, a part-time Makikilo resident, plays the film’s villain.

Names not to be missed are Andy Bumatai as Jared’s father, Stan Egi (Rising Sun, Gung Ho) as the Boss, Chloe Amos as the genius sister, Kimberly Estrada of Los Angeles (one scene was shot in L.A.) as the dream girl. Elmore also pointed out that lead character Jane Benney acted in “the highest-grossing South African movie of all time.”

Elmore majored in business at UH-Manoa, but it’s film-making that is his passion. He’s already contemplating his next feature film, meanwhile he’s “heavily working” on post production of All For Melissa.

“I think people are really going to enjoy this,” concludes Elmore.

“It’s a local film, so local people will get it, but the mainland will get it too.”

Elmore plans to submit the film to the Slamdance, South by Southwest and other major film festivals.

All For Melissa is scheduled to debut at the Hawaii International Film Festival at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at Dole Cannery.

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