WRANGLING THE BEAST

by Ben Mankoff
Co-Producer, Stationary

Last September I ran into an old roommate at the staging of a mutual friend’s new play. We got to talking and I learned that he (the roommate, Daniel Goldberg) and she (the playwright, Catherine Weingarten) had written a screenplay called “Stationary” which they hoped to produce before the end of the year. 

Having my own cinematic ambitions, I did what every young person with few credentials and an expansive ego would do: I asked if I could help. Daniel (co-writer and director), turns out to be a really swell guy and he brought me on board.

 
 

It was a tiny production team with a wide range of experiences and interests, convening in coffee shops and empty art galleries to piece together a project that we believed in. In a way, we were each taking a chance on the people around us; there is risk involved in trusting others with your creative baby, or your career or your time. 

My major contributions to the film came in the planning stages; I was involved in casting and equipping the project. But I was also present on set and saw how what was, for months, largely a mental exercise, could manifest and grow limbs and start to move as a real, tangible, occasionally frightening beast.

The cast and crew wrangled that beast like professionals (which, of course, they were) and today we have a trove of beautiful footage just aching to be cut into a film. We need to finish it, and that takes money. 

In the same generous spirit with which Daniel took a chance on me, this film needs to be given a chance. That’s how films this size are made these days. When we recognize that we have to support other weirdos like us. When we, the community, take a chance on new stories because, God bless him, Harvey Weinstein is too busy to help out. 

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