By Sarina Trangle
His production company pays tribute to the airplanes that swoosh over his home near JFK Airport.
His college thesis film pays homage to a short story taught at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.
And now Daniel Scarpati, 20, hopes to add the names of borough residents to the movie’s credits.
Scarpati, of Howard Beach, has taken to the online fund-raising site Indiegogo to raise the $3,000 he estimates it will cost to produce his senior thesis film for Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College.
The roughly eight-to-12-minute movie will center around Jack, a mall Santa Claus who has gown disillusioned with the behavior of kids and parents parading by.
“He’s reached the point where he can’t take it anymore. So he decides to take action and create an evil version of Santa,” Scarpati said, noting that the inspiration for a dark Santa came from the short story “Knackles” he read as a junior at Christ the King. “Santa is unquestioned …. He is just a holiday legend. So really, the ending of the film is going to push in that direction. It’s all about the creation of another Christmas legend.”
While offering “Klaus”-branded ornaments, stickers, copies of the movie and the inclusion of donors’ names in the credits for the most generous givers, Scarpati and his team have raised about $900, according to Indiegogo.
Casting is not complete, but Scarpati said the roughly 20-person crew currently boasts many Queens residents.
“A lot of students do fund-raise,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes into it beyond, sure, you need a camera; sure, you need lights; sure, you need a crew. There’s production insurance, permit fees, vehicles to transport everything around.”
Scarpati said many students and recent graduates had signed on, but he was planning to do a professional casting call as well. Then “Klaus” will begin scouting set locations, including malls, houses and quintessential images of Christmas in the city.
The Clock Tower Plaza, with its bustling shopping season, is high on Scarpati’s potential shopping backgrounds.
The filming is slated for mid-November to early December. Then, Scarpati said, he will finish editing “Klaus” in time for his spring graduation and then begin submitting it to film festivals, with a tentative Web launch ultimately planned for next fall.
Scarpati encouraged those interested in the film industry to get involved with “Klaus” or his Passing Planes Production company, which he described as a welcoming community and platform for showcasing work to potential employers. The business’ name references the frequent distraction of overhead planes Scarpati has dealt with while working at his Howard Beach home.
“It’s not a Hollywood-type production, where you can’t talk to anybody about how it works,” he said. “This is an opportunity to those who are interested in learning mutually with us.”
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at email@example.com.