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NYC Art & Fashion World Gets Spotlight in SHOOT ME NICELY Series

Elias Plagianos' web series Shoot Me Nicely starring John Behlmann, William Sadler, Linda Hamilton and Tasie Lawrence, is the story of a fashion photographer who loses his elite magazine job, plunging him into a downward spiral of odd jobs and celebrity chasing. A compromising photo of a politician quickly takes his life on a wild ride in his journey to return to the glitz and glam of the high-fashion world.

Winter Film Awards' Amanda Godman spoke with Elias Plagianos about his innovative series. See the NYC Premiere of 'Shoot Me Nicely' on Friday February 24 and Wednesday March 1 at the 2017 Winter Film Awards Indie Film Festival.

Q: What inspired you to create a film about a fashion photographer? Did you see a reflection of yourself in the character of Sean Wheeler?

I wanted to tell a fun story that examined the struggles of being involved in the New York art, film, and fashion world. I thought a famous photographer who was kind of forced into becoming a "paparazzi" was the perfect window into that world. This is probably the most personal film I've ever made in that I think it captures who I am, my personality and point of view, and throws it up on the big screen. There is a lot about Sean Wheeler that is me. The sarcastic sense of humor, the eclectic group of friends, the ambition to reach a certain level of success. I think the biggest difference between us is that he has trouble containing his ego and that was a lot of fun to write. It's like what if I would do anything to reach my goals, no matter how it would affect those around me. That's Sean Wheeler.

Q: You are no newcomer to the festival circuit; your film The Man From the City was an official selection at the 2016 Winter Film Awards. What are you most excited about for this year's Winter Film Awards?

The Winter Film Awards really gets everything right. From the great screening venue, to the parties, the seminars, the networking, and the awards ceremony. It's a real celebration of film and storytelling that focuses on showing the audience and filmmakers a good time. I'm excited to be a part of it.

Q: What was your biggest challenge making this film?

I really believe in the idea of truly independent filmmaking, so while it's a challenge to write, direct, edit, and produce your own work, it's something I willingly take on, so I can't complain. I think, for me, the biggest challenge is the physical production. When you work outside the system you have extremely limited financial resources. You have to do more with less. You have to look and feel like a Hollywood production but for a fraction of the budget. The way I do that is by surrounding myself with extremely talented hardworking people who believe in the story we are trying to tell. It's a hand-picked team that my producing partner, Craig Blair, and I put together, many of whom we've worked with on other projects.

Q: What was the coolest, weirdest, craziest, or most interesting occurrence while making this film?

We had a bunch , but the first one that comes to mind is our second night of shooting in the Meatpacking District at 3 am. I was groveling to a manager of a meat packing plant to allow us to shoot in front of his space, while 7-foot tall drag queens dressed in science-fiction costumes were surrounding a hotel across the street, and William Sadler was exposing his prosthetic "mini-weiner" to a screaming actress (Diana Durango) along the West Side Highway. The exposing was part of the scene, everything else was not. That was a fun stressful night.

Q: You have created feature-length films before, including The Crimson Mask, which was a major festival-circuit hit, as well as documentary shorts. Which is your preference to create and why - short narrative films, documentary films, or feature-length narrative films?

That's a good question. I think right now I'm most interested in exploring the idea of independent episodic content. In my opinion, the best storytelling over the last couple of years has been on television and told in an episodic or chapter format and it's something I'm putting a lot of effort into creating right now.

I'm also in development on a few feature films. Holding someone's attention on the big screen for 90 plus minutes is really gratifying, but it's been done for over 100 years. You need to make the argument "What am I doing that is new, exciting, or justifies telling this story as a feature film?".

Q: John Behlmann was incredibly entertaining as Sean Wheeler, and it was interesting to see William Sadler in a role that was a fairly distinct contrast from his quintessential roles in prior projects. Your film features a plethora of famous faces, so what made you choose John and William for the roles of Sean and Roy Barnes?

I'm so picky about cast. Without great performances there is no reason to make a film or TV show. For Sean Wheeler, we saw so many actors and none came close to the qualities that John brought to the role. He's super talented, versatile, great to work with and brought so much to every scene. This was the perfect project to launch him as a leading man. He's going to be a big star.

William is one of my favorite actors of all time. I was so honored to work with him. He is the perfect example of how an actor can make you a better director. He has so many great ideas and smart questions about the scene and character. He is also incredibly funny, and fun to work with. I hope he gets to do more comedy because there were times I had to chew on my fist when I was watching the monitor so I wouldn't laugh and ruin the take.

I think we have the best ensemble cast on the festival circuit now.The iconic Linda Hamilton is quirky, cool and almost regal in her role as Sean's agent. Jackie "The Jokeman" Martling got a chance to really act and create a fully realized character. He plays Larry the Landlord, who is kind of a jerk, but also just so warm and funny. My buddy Josh Burrow, best known for playing Captain Morgan, really found his comedic voice in this. I also had so many incredibly talented up and coming actor friends who jumped on as a favor in smaller roles then they are used to. Lukas, Fiona, Caitlin, Lindsay, Jim, Diana, and Joe are a huge reason why the scenes work as well as well as they do.

Q: Do you have any exciting upcoming projects you want to tell us about?

We have a lot of interest from some great companies about creating more Shoot Me Nicely episodes and it's something we are actively exploring and taking meetings about.

I've also been in development on a remake of the cult 80's action film A Force of One with Jason Riley at Evos Media. We have a fun take on updating it that we think audiences will love.

Other than that I'm always writing and reading scripts and seeing what other genre I can try my hand at. I'm getting an itch to finally jump into science-fiction and there is a top secret project we've been offered that could be perfect if it works out.

About Winter Film Awards Indie Film Festival

Winter Film Awards Is New York City. Like the city itself, we showcase the eclectic diversity and excitement of the independent arts world. Winter Film Awards is proudly one of the Top 10 Best Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway.

The rapidly growing Winter Film Awards Indie Film Festival, now in its sixth year, is a dynamic and exciting event in the heart of the City. Winter Film Awards showcases films from emerging filmmakers from around the world in all genres with a special emphasis on highlighting the work of women and minority filmmakers. The Festival runs February 23-March 4 2017 in New York City.

Among the 88 Official Selections to be screened at Cinema Village in the heart of Greenwich Village (22 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003), is a diverse mixture of 11 Animated films, 8 Documentaries, 11 Feature narratives, 10 Horror films, 12 Music Videos, 24 Narrative shorts and 7 Web series, including 12 student films and 33 first-time filmmakers. Filmmakers come from 30 countries; 42% of the films were created by women, 45% were created by people of color. Visit for schedules, tickets and details.

Written by Amanda Godman. Amanda Godman is a sophomore at Emory University studying Film Studies and Media Studies. Her favorite director is Quentin Tarantino because his comic book-esque action sequences not only challenge conventions, but serve to entertain within a satirical yet deliberate plot line. Amanda's spirit animal is a sloth, and she hopes to one day be the next Roger Ebert.

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