GATSBY IN CONNECTICUT to Premier at Garden State Film Festival
F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, has become synonymous with the lifestyle of the rich and famous on Long Island. But what if that connection is false? The argument that the real West and East Egg can be found on the other side of Long Island Sound is brilliantly argued in the 2020 documentary, GATSBY IN CONNECTICUT: The Untold Story.
Featuring Sam Waterston and narrated by Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey), the film will make its world premiere at the Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park on March 28th. Completed to coincide with the centennial anniversary of Scott's first novel, his marriage to Zelda, and his move to Connecticut in 1920, the filmmakers' research has already generated national press including coverage in The New York Times, Parade and Town & Country.
Scholars specializing in the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald have never been able to resolve fundamental questions about The Great Gatsby. Presuming that Great Neck, Long Island was Fitzgerald's setting, certain elements of geography, location and personality in the town just don't line up with what's described in the novel. However, they do fit in perfectly with another location, one that has been overlooked and even outright dismissed in the halls of academia-Westport, Connecticut.
Director Robert Steven Williams, who grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ, and historian Richard "Deej" Webb have created a compelling argument for the town of Westport being the major influence on The Great Gatsby. By digging into the Princeton Archives, going through historical records, interviewing more than a dozen renowned Fitzgerald scholars, meeting with Scott and Zelda's granddaughter, Bobbie Lanahan, and even tracking down a descendant of the original publisher, Charles Scribner III, the filmmakers answer unresolved questions, including:
Who was the mysterious millionaire that inspired the character of Jay Gatsby?
What was the real inspiration for Gatsby's mansion?
Why doesn't the geography of the novel reflect that of Long Island, rather than that of Connecticut?
GATSBY IN CONNECTICUT finds additional support in Barbara Probst Solomon's forgotten 1996 New Yorker article, which first laid out the argument for Westport being the model of East Egg. The film also inspired Webb's companion book, Boats Against the Current: The Honeymoon Summer of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Robert Steven Williams, director, co-writer, producer, is an award-winning novelist, musician, filmmaker and entrepreneur. His company, Against the Grain Productions produces short videos primarily for not-for-profits. James Swaffield, editor and Grammy-nominated music video director. Richard 'Deej' Webb, historical content supervisor, executive producer, local educator and historian.
Film advisors: William Baker, former president WNET, NYC; Jonathon Fanton, president Academy of Arts & Sciences; Maureen Corrigan, professor Georgetown University; Kirk Curnutt, President of the Fitzgerald Society, professor Troy University; Charles Scribner III, Scribners & Son.