“The Crimson Mask,” the first feature film from Astoria resident Elias Plagianos, has already won many awards and will soon be screened during the Queens International Film Festival.
“When I was younger, I loved to kind of tell stories,” Plagianos said. “This [filmmaking] was like a new way to tell a story.”
Plagianos grabbed a video camera before he had even entered high school and began making short films. He kept creating them while in high school, and later went to college for film.
“My dream was to make a real feature film,” he said.
That dream came true with “The Crimson Mask,” which Plagianos wrote, directed and edited. He spent six years writing it because he wanted to make sure it was at a quality level that would be taken seriously. It was then filmed in three weeks and completed a year later.
“I knew that I would only get one chance to make my first film so I kind of wanted to cram everything I could in there. I wanted to make sure there were a lot of different genres,” Plagianos said. “I wrote a script that I thought would be unique visually and also was something I felt strong about thematically.”
The movie is about “two men who owe a lot of money who have to fight one another,” Plagianos said. It stars Robert Clohessy, Josh Burrow, Chrishell Stause and Lee Sellars.
Clohessy has had a very extensive career, appearing in feature films, television shows and on the stage. Because of his experience, Plagianos said he learned a lot while working with Clohessy.
Plagianos said that his filmmaking has been greatly inspired by graphic novels.
“I try and create a whole new world so the world that you’re seeing is almost like a ‘Twilight Zone’ sort of world,” he said. “It’s almost real, but it’s not.”
“The Crimson Mask” made its debut at the Kent Film Festival, where it won its first award – the audience choice award. Since then, it has won 14 more awards.
The film will be screened during the Queens International Film Festival, which is being held from November 12 to November 15. Plagianos is up for the best director award.
He said that it is exciting to be able to show the film in the borough where most of it was shot and where his family and friends live.
“I really hope it gets a good response,” Plagianos said.
“The Crimson Mask” will be released for purchase this winter. Plagianos said that he wants to see reactions to what does and does not work with the film before he decides on his next project.
Plagianos said that making the movie was the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life. He also said that every weekend he seems to create a new highlight to his career, as he attends different film festivals and events.
“It’s so great to just keep growing and moving forward,” Plagianos said.
For more information on “The Crimson Mask” and its upcoming screenings, visit www.thecrimsonmask.com.