North Cambridge activist and actor Lloyd U. Smith plays himself as a faux city council candidate.
by Heather Goldman
The creators of the upcoming docudramedy, “The Cambridge Companion” know a bit about the element of personal touch.
Their 20-minute film, which is set in Cambridge, is a collaborative effort inspired by their friendship, community and personal visions for the future.
Director and co-writer Ethan H. Goldhammer said he wanted to make a film that was reflective of where he came from. While in school at New York University, he saw many of his peers emulate their favorite films without incorporating elements of their own lives, he said.
“My big problem with a lot of the projects at NYU is that there is no personal touch to them. They’re all kind of trying to emulate whatever their favorite movies are with no sense of where they came from and where they grew up. The best films that I saw always reflected the people’s personalities,” he said.
For the film, Smith campaigned along side other candidates, he said.
Lloyd U. Smith, who co-wrote and stars in the film, said call it a docudramedy. “The drama and the comedy are obvious – ipse dixit! The documentary is my frustration with the way politics disguises the truth in ways that deny and frustrate the community.”
Goldhammer and Smith said they have known each other for a long time. They met at CCTV, where Smith hosts “Living in America” which airs on Sunday evenings on channel 9 from 7:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Goldhammer, who was enrolled in CCTV’s film program at the time, his filmmaking partner and cinematographer, Shuan Clarke, and Smith worked on a variety of projects where Smith would usually made cameos as a hobo. For this film, they wanted to find a role that was more representative of him, said Goldhammer.
After returning from London where he wrote a full-length screenplay about Cambridge, Goldhammer said he got the idea to write a short that was set in Cambridge. He started writing the script, which eventually became a collaborative process with Smith that continued throughout the shoot.
The film, which was produced by Hayley Santolucito, is mainly inspired by the real-life relationship between Smith and Arthur “The Artman” Martins, who plays Smith’s son, as he runs for city council. “Smith would tell strangers he was Artman’s father, I thought it was
a funny dynamic, so I used it in the script,” said Goldhammer.
Smith, who is involved with the Green Rainbow Party on the local and state levels said, “I don’t believe in politics.” He was attracted to them because their values seem to be an attempt to make politics more viable, focusing on everyday living and needs.
“I am deeply spiritual in my concern about human suffering and human need and human experience. I have a dream about transforming the planet into the kind of garden that it has capacity to become,” he said.
“I’d like to think that this movie may be a precursor to my running for office in Cambridge at some other election time depending on the kind of response that the public may exhibit” he said.
Goldhammer said that what is important to him is the sense of community in Cambridge that made this film happen. “It’s a project that was born out of Cambridge, about Cambridge, and intended for Cambridge audiences.” It is the largest scale narrative production to come out of CCTV.
Both Smith and Goldhammer said they are grateful to many people and establishments who donated their money, services and space. “We owe a lot to CCTV,” said Smith.
They also want to thank friends and family of the crew, The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub, Mary Chung’s Restaurant, Redbones BBQ, Critique, Au Bon Pain, Carberry’s, Anna’s Tacquarie and Harvest Market, who allowed them to use the store for six hours while they filmed, he said.
Goldhammer recently started a blog, which contains additional footage, trailers and information about screenings, he said.
It can be found at http://cambridgecompanion.blogspot.com/.
He said he is hoping to secure Kendall Square Theatre for screenings in early January and will keep us posted once the date is confirmed.