Chris Viemeister of Lynbrook never considered himself to be a musician, but he takes on the role of an emo band’s lead guitarist who turns into a country star in Valley Stream resident Jason Brescia’s new film “(Romance) in the Digital Age.” The movie will premiere in select movie theaters on Nov. 7.
Viemeister, 29, co-produced the film and stars in it as Casey Thayer. Thayer, he said, turns into a country music star because his love interest, Lera, played by Nicole Scotto, became a journalist for a country music magazine. The two parted ways, but re-unite in the film at Thayer’s former band member’s wedding. The majority of the movie is shot from the perspective of the married couple’s wedding video.
“There’s this sort of Jim and Pam thing going on between him and Lara, and his storyline is basically dealing with that,” Viemeister said of his character, referring to a major arc in the NBC show “The Office.”
Although Viemeister sees some similarities between himself and his character, he noted that there are also differences. The two are similar because both Viemeister and Thayer have romantic notions, he said. But they are different because Viemeister said he never considered himself a guitar player or a singer, and had to learn how to look like he knew what he was doing for the film. “It’s make-believe, so I get to show up and pretend to be a country music star out of nowhere,” he said, adding that he had to perform a “Slash-style guitar solo with a drone flying all around me,” referring to the skilled Guns N’ Roses guitarist.
Others in the cast are also from Long Island. Shannon McBride, 26, has lived in Valley Stream her entire life and plays Violet in the film. Violet is a waitress who Finn McGee, played by Valley Streamer Joe Murphy, 31, is trying to impress throughout the movie. McBride said, however, that “[Violet] thinks he’s a creep.”
Violet and McGee provide the comic relief for the movie, according to Murphy. “The rest of the cast did a great job moving the dramatic elements of the story, so Jason used me to bring levity back into it when possible,” he said.
All of that drama and comedy plays out on the wedding video and on social media throughout the film. Brescia, 31, who now lives in Malverne, said he got the inspiration for the film from his own experience as a groomsman at his friend’s wedding. “The cameraman was like obstructing the view of the groom,” he said. “I thought it would be really interesting to have a film told through a wedding video.”
The movie was mainly filmed at St. Ignatius Martyr Church in Long Beach and near the water. “If you’re going to get married in Long Beach there’s no way you’re not going to the beach to take wedding pictures,” Viemeister said.
Cast members said that the Long Beach and Lynbrook communities were helpful and provided them with much-needed food on a tight budget. According to Viemeister, Lynbrook Bagels provided the cast with a spread of bagels and Long Beach-based Swingbellys Beachside BBQ provided them with food for this film as well as for his first movie, “Bridge and Tunnel,” which he made after Hurricane Sandy. “I just have to thank the Lynbrook and Long Beach communities for being so supportive of us,” Viemeister said.
“(Romance) in the Digital Age” played at the Long Island Film Festival in Bellmore on July 14, and at the Long Beach Film Festival on Aug. 2. It is being distributed by Comedy Dynamics, which also distributes stand-up comedy acts to Netflix. Brescia said that the film will have a national limited run in select theaters, but he had not yet determined which locations it would be screened at as of press time.