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Westport Director's Indie Film Premieres At Bridgeport's Bijou Theatre

The cast in part, from left, Tom Golden, Laurent Mullen, Neal Smith, Victor Mercado, Alex Ziwak, Ken Walsh, Jeff Saresky, John Gatto, Mike Ziniak, Tommy DeLaurentis and Alberto Lopez.
The cast in part, from left, Tom Golden, Laurent Mullen, Neal Smith, Victor Mercado, Alex Ziwak, Ken Walsh, Jeff Saresky, John Gatto, Mike Ziniak, Tommy DeLaurentis and Alberto Lopez. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- An independent action feature filmed in-state with more than 40 Connecticut actors will premiere Wednesday, Dec. 28, at Bridgeport’s Bijou Theatre.

The film is called “Desolation Angeles/Rise of the BOAS” and stars Neal Smith, a Westport resident and the founding drummer of Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame band Alice Cooper.

Smith, who wrote the title song for the film, plays a ruthless Russian mob boss in a full-length black-and-white production based on morality issues rooted in classical Greek mythology.

A group of mercenaries is hired by a covert government agency to disrupt the relationship between the Russians and Mexican drug cartels. The plot raises the question: Are we are able to change our fate or is life predestined?

Jayson Byrd, a Westport-based photographer who has shot everyone from Paul Newman to Bob Dylan to Jean Stapleton and Morris Carnovsky, financed the production himself and wrote the original screenplay. It took him three years to complete the film, shooting at more than 30 localities between Ansonia and Stamford.

Byrd is widely known as the onetime photographer for Westport Playhouse and Music Theater of Connecticut, as well as Shakespeare on the Sound in Rowayton, American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Darien Dinner Theater, Stamford Playhouse and Polka Dot Playhouse in Bridgeport.

He was among the original exhibitors at the Westport Arts Center.

Born in New York City, Byrd spent his formative years traveling through Europe and developed a Continental visual sense of style, also influenced by the portrait and fashion work of David Bailey, Francesco Scavullo and Irving Penn.

The list of luminaries he has photographed also includes James Earl Jones, Christopher Plummer, John Lithgow, Victoria Tennant, Charles Keating, Dudley Moore and Jerry Stiller.

Byrd's advertising photography has appeared in magazines such as Vogue, WWD, Esquire, ELLE, GQ and Town & Country.

His fashion clients include Brioni, Givenchy and Donna Haag.

There is no charge for admission but a $10 donation is welcomed. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and showtime is 7:30. The snow date is Wednesday, Jan. 4.

The Bijou Theatre is at 75 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport.

To learn more about “Desolation Angeles/Rise of the BOAS," visit its Facebook page.

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