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Western Massachusetts native to begin production of film in East Longmeadow, Springfield

Date: 9/25/2014

GREATER SPRINGFIELD – The Peter Pan bus station on Main Street and other locations in Springfield and in East Longmeadow will be the backdrop for scenes in a short film, entitled “City of Homes,” scheduled to begin production during two weekends in mid-October.

Christopher Macken, the film’s director who is using the film as his senior thesis at Emerson College in Boston, said “City of Homes” is a coming-of-age story about a struggling young actor named Adam who arrives back in his hometown of Springfield after failed attempts to find acting work in California.

“It all takes place in one night and it’s about his arrival back at home and after an immediate fight with his father at the bus station, it leaves him stranded and he’s forced to walk home in this one night,” he said.

The 20- to 25-minute film focuses on reunion between Adam and an old hometown friend of his that he hasn’t seen in years as well as Adam’s relationship with his father.

Macken said the film touches on themes of accepting one’s own reality, the beauty of diversity and seeing human beings from all walks of life, legacy, and fatherhood.

“It’s a big transition period in Adam’s life where he is definitely becoming very mature and starts to view his parents as people as well,” he added. “He starts to just view people who didn’t get the opportunities that he did as equal individuals.”

Macken said there are small details to the main character that mirrors his own life path, such as his plans to move to Los Angeles, Calif., in January after having lived, thus far, his entire life in Massachusetts.

“It’s a story I have been working on for around a year now and it takes various experiences and conversations from my life that I found very meaningful and important to get out,” he said.

“City of Homes” is ultimately a film that pays homage to the experience of living in Western Massachusetts, he added. The film’s title comes from Springfield’s nickname as a city with a large number of residential Victorian styled architecture.

Macken said one of the first opportunities that allowed him to learn the craft of video production was East Longmeadow Community Access Television (ELCAT), before he graduated high school in 2011 to pursue a degree in film production. 

Macken said one of his mentors at East Longmeadow High School (ELHS) was ELCAT Director Don Maki who teaches students video production and editing.

“There are many, many students here with genuine vision; they see and process things all the time without thinking about the ways they might actually express that vision,” Maki said.

“So as a teacher, its wonderful when they discover the tools here that help them do that,” he added. “For Chris, its the narrative [and] visual power of film. He has something important to say and he’s learning to become a master at saying it in a compelling way. That’s true success.”

Maki said about two to three ELHS students from ELCAT will be involved as production assistants, which will allow them to gain hands-on experience in film production.

“I think that willingness to share his work with high school students speaks to his love for what he's doing and why he does it,” he added.

The production team for “City of Homes” consists of roughly 15 to 20 students from Emerson College, Macken said. Five actors will be featured in the film,.

There is a Kickstarter campaign to fund the film project can be found at

As of Sept. 23, the project has raised $1,145 of its $5,000 goal. There are 15 days left for the project to be funded.

Kickstarter’s rules require that a project be funded in full or not at all.