Inspired by a daughter’s love and true-to-life events, “Tonight and Every Night,” will have its East Coast premiere at the New Hope Film Festival on July 29 at 5 p.m., at the New Hope Arts Center. The narrative short film, written and directed by Christina Eliopoulos, was inspired by her father’s life.
In “Tonight and Every Night” veteran actor Joe Cortese portrays Yianni, who hosts a talk show that plays in own mind. One fateful day, Yianni, a humble diner owner who suffers from dementia, wanders from his house, and befriends a lonely and lost little boy.
“I loved that the subject matter was so personal,” says Cortese. “The director entrusted me to play her father — a man she loved very much who was stricken with this disease. I felt I knew this man. And then once I read the script, I was all in. I felt an obligation to bring this character to life. And for me, it is the most inspiring and challenging role I have ever done.”
Cortese leads a stellar ensemble cast that includes talented newcomer 7-year-old Azhy Robertson, co-stars Stephen Badalamenti and Tara Murtha, Janis Dardaris in the role of Plousia, Yianni’s beloved wife, and award-winning performers Mark Gindick and Katherine Sigismund in supporting roles. The film was shot in Asbury Park, N.J., Eliopoulos’ hometown.
In the film, the television screen becomes a metaphor for a “window into the mind,” says director Eliopoulos. “The past and present, the real and the imagined, the rational mind and the troubled mind, stardom and fandom are co-mingled,” she adds. “We all tell ourselves stories and create little myths to soothe our troubled conscience. The Yianni character looks for solace in a bright and happy world inside his mind.”
The film, lyrical in its storytelling, visual metaphors, cinematography and pacing, was lensed by cinematographer Russell Swanson, with New Jersey producer Elizabeth Kinder, serving as executive producer. Christina Eliopoulos is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker whose previous work includes the documentaries “Greetings from Asbury Park” and “Demon on Wheels.”
“Tonight and Every Night” will be shown July 29 at 5 p.m. at the New Hope Arts Center, 2 Stockton Avenue, in New Hope. Tickets are available online.
New Hope Film Festival was founded by D. F. Whipple, an author, screenwriter and long-time resident of the New Hope area, with a group of artists who shared his passion for discovering and nurturing independent artists.