“The Museum of Lost Things”

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By Danielle Sposato
Head Copyeditor

“The Museum of Lost Things” is a film adaption of Dr. Dennis Pahl’s short story entitled, “The Museum of Lost Things,” which has not yet been published. Pahl, an English professor, along with multiple Post Alumni such as Gregory Cioffi, Rob LaRosa, Marc Riou, Sheere Campbell, and a couple of other crew members who did not attend LIU Post, contributed to the production of the film adaption. Gregory Cioffi, who graduated Post with a B.F.A. in elementary education as well as a M.S. in English education and a M.A. in theater acting, directed the film, in addition to writing the screenplay.MUSEUM OF LOST THNGS

The original short story revolves around the main character that narrates his experiences after discovering a museum of lost things that contains pieces of his forgotten past. He not only enters a museum of his past, but approaches rooms that depict previous moments in his life from the room of lost umbrellas, the room of lost hair, and even a room of lost friends. The rooms contain the literal elements of what are in its titles.

Pahl toys with the idea that this museum of lost things does not only have to be the physical lost object in the character’s life. “I just imagined if all the things you’ve ever lost could be found, you begin to think of what if you imagined rooms that contain not only lost objects but lost circumstances, lost friendships, lost love, lost illusions,” he said. Thus, the character confronts a room of lost love, in addition to several other metaphorical moments of his past, designated to each specific room.

“The Museum of Lost Things,” was never originally supposed to be a film. Yet, because Cioffi kept a relationship with Pahl upon graduation, creations like this were inevitable. “He would often send me his writing; especially the published ones,” Cioffi said. “One day he sent me a story he wrote, ‘The Museum of Lost Things,’ I thought it was very original, very creative, and that I have never read anything like it. I saw cinematic potential in it.” Cioffi began to write the screenplay, which resulted in the development of the plot expanding, with the addition of new characters and themes, while maintaining the core of the story.

“Sometimes things need to change from one medium to another when doing an adaption,” Cioffi said. He then introduced his screenplay to a company called The Majors Production, which was cofounded by several Post Alumni including Rob LaRosa, who has a degree in film, in addition to Marc Riou.

“The script was brought to our attention by Greg to helm the production and post-production aspects and that’s how it all started,” LaRosa said. Similar to what Cioffi felt about the short story, LaRosa felt the script was enticing as well, “I thought the script was very original, which was what drew me to this project,” LaRosa said.

In addition to the medium change between the written story and the film, location also played a role in production, influencing different scenes and adding several details that were not originally in the short story or the screenplay. The scenes in the film were shot in several locations including parts of Long Island, New Jersey, and New York City. The diner scene was shot at a diner near the LIU Post campus, and was very welcoming once the owners learned that the crew members were affiliated with LIU Post, according to Cioffi.

Long Island University gave liberty to the production crew as well, and allowed them to film on several parts of the campus: The Winnick House, known as C.W. Post Mansion, and the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library. “We were very lucky, they were very accommodating at Post. Rita Langdon who is the Activities Coordinator, gave us free access to the Winnick House, the Great Hall, The Hunt Room, the Pratt Center, and the Library,” Pahl said.

In one specific scene, the protagonist is supposed to be deep underground; nevertheless, they felt that the shot would look best on the second floor of the Winnick House. They were unable to completely cover all of the windows on the second floor corridor, so one specific window that held the C.W. Post logo remained uncovered.

“He walks passed that group of display cases and he sees a window afterwards, and it’s supposed to be deep underground, how could there be a window with light shining in?” Pahl said. Cioffi decided to incorporate this factor into the movie to give it a sense of surrealism. The remaining window that shines light in this scene enhances the abstract qualities the protagonist undergoes and leaves a profound question of what is real and what is not.

The library on campus also influenced the plot in one particular scene. The premise of the scene is the protagonist walking down the street before stumbling upon a door that leads the character into the museum. The scene is shot in Hoboken, N.J., a place Pahl found to be a surreal image in itself. “it was a very surreal cobble stone street,” Pahl said.

From there, the protagonist finds himself in a building. That is when Cioffi decided to film inside the library on campus. “He is staring down this staircase, he looks into this abyss,” Pahl said. However, to continue the scene, Cioffi and Pahl, discovered that one of the staircases in the library led to a wall, due to change in construction plans when the library was built.

“This whole scene was not in this story at all; the location that you use forces you to change the story in order to enhance the atmosphere,” Pahl said. Cioffi utilized this wall to his advantage and incorporated a scene of nervousness that displays the protagonist desiring to retreat from the staircase. Ultimately he turns to leave and the wall on top of the staircase prevents him from doing so, evidently forcing him to continue his journey.

The library on campus also influenced the plot in one particular scene. The premise of the scene is the protagonist walking down the street before stumbling upon a door that leads the character into the museum. The scene is shot in Hoboken, N.J., a place Pahl found to be a surreal image in itself. “it was a very surreal cobble stone street,” Pahl said.

From there, the protagonist finds himself in a building. That is when Cioffi decided to film inside the library on campus. “He is staring down this staircase, he looks into this abyss,” Pahl said. However, to continue the scene, Cioffi and Pahl, discovered that one of the staircases in the library led to a wall, due to change in construction plans when the library was built.

“This whole scene was not in this story at all; the location that you use forces you to change the story in order to enhance the atmosphere,” Pahl said. Cioffi utilized this wall to his advantage and incorporated a scene of nervousness that displays the protagonist desiring to retreat from the staircase. Ultimately he turns to leave and the wall on top of the staircase prevents him from doing so, evidently forcing him to continue his journey.

However, the availability of all of these locations formed a road block in the beginning of filming. “The issue of course became [that] some of the locations and what days [they were available] conflicted with the other days that we could do,” Cioffi said.

The cast and crew had to coordinate specific times for availability, due to their own personal schedules, in hopes that they would match the availability of the locations. “Between 20 people, the cast and crew, all
of these schedules had to coincide with the locations,” Cioffi said. Luckily, that problem became diluted once everything fell into place. “Once everything was set, I knew we were good to go, the production itself went so smoothly,” he said.

To help post-production move forward to the editing process, Pahl’s team decided to develop a Kickstarter campaign, a fundraising page that helps raise money for artists, filmmakers, and many more. Apart from the Kickstarter page, Dr. Pahl himself funded a large portion of the film. Moreover, the actors and actresses gave their services for free. “Actors donated their time and effort…they thought the story was so compelling, and they thought the screenplay that Greg wrote was so great.” Pahl said.

“The Museum of Lost Things,” received a lot of publicity due to it being the editors pick of the week. “Everyone on set has been involved in Kickstarters but this was the first time they experienced the film being the editors pick…I think the combination of us getting a nice hit in the beginning after the first few days made an impact money wise,” Cioffi said.

“The Museum of Lost Things,” is supposed to premiere in the late spring or summer on the LIU Post campus. Not only does the film contain comedy, there are hints of drama, love, and mystery that coincide with it in a harmonized manner. “The great thing about ‘The Museum of Lost Things’ is that it bridges a bunch of genres,” LaRosa said. “It’s one part a fantasy of a man’s journey, but its also a comedy at times, and a love story in another vein,” he added.

Pahl believes that it will attract “anyone who would like a zany comedy. A Wes Anderson type of audience, people who like cutting edge cinema.” Pahl’s goal is to enter the film in a local North Shore film festival as well as major film festivals such as Tribeca and Sundance. “People connected to this really think we have something very special on our hands,” Pahl said.

There are about 20 days left of the film’s Kickstarter campaign. All donations received will go towards the editing process of the film if the production reaches their goal of $7,000. Unless they reach their goal within this time frame, all the money raised will have to be refunded. To donate and back this production visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/26518678/the-museum-of-lost-things.

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