Three years ago, Lynbrook High School graduate and Hewlett native Michael Doneger was one of 10 finalists, out of 6,000 entrants, in the Pepsi Max Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest. He wrote, directed and starred in his commercial, and was featured in the Jan. 20-26, 2011, issue of the Herald.
Although the commercial didn’t air during the big game that year, Doneger, who’s now 27, won some prize money and used his winnings to finance his next project, a feature film he wrote, directed and starred in called “This Thing With Sarah.” The film will be available for purchase on iTunes beginning on Feb. 11.
“It’s funny how one thing leads to the next,” Doneger said.
Doneger played lacrosse at Lynbrook High before graduating in 2004. He played at Johns Hopkins University as well, while earning a screenwriting degree, and moved to Los Angles to pursue a career in filmmaking in 2008. One of his major influences, he said, was Hewlett High School graduate and acclaimed writer, director and actor Ed Burns.
Doneger wrote the script for his movie in 2010, and filmed it with a cast and crew for 15 days in the spring of 2011. It was completed in July 2012, and has since appeared in two film festivals: Dances With Films, in Hollywood, and the San Diego Film Festival. A sales representative reached a distribution deal with GoDigital, a Los Angeles-based film distribution company, to release the film on iTunes.
“It just validated all that hard work,” he said. “The fact that this is going to get out there, and people are going to see it … that’s the most important thing. Hopefully the film will find some sort of an audience.”
“This Thing With Sarah” is the story of a recently dumped writer who meets a free-spirited surfing instructor. To help him get over his ex, his new friend, Sarah, volunteers to engage in a strictly sexual relationship with him.