Adam Carbone can pinpoint his interest in filmmaking to his mom’s VHS recorder.
“She used to record us at family parties and all different events,” said Carbone, who’s a native Cranstonian.
He received his own camera when he was older and started making silly movies with friends in the backyard. His passion for film eventually turned into a career. Carbone, who has now produced several films, will release Poor Paul on March 5 at Lincoln Cinema for a red carpet premiere.
Poor Paul was entirely filmed in Rhode Island and tells the story of a socially-awkward college student named Paul who lives vicariously through his hero fantasies. After inheriting $500,000 frequent flier miles, he takes his two roommates on a trip around the world where they find themselves hostages of a delusional Italian man who is hell-bent on his daughter marrying an American.
“Viewers can expect a wild ride of a film,” Carbone said.
Carbone co-wrote the script with Sean Michael Beyer who he connected with 15 years earlier through MySpace. Carbone had reached out to Beyer expressing that he was a fan of his work and enjoyed his Poor Paul web series. The two eventually started collaborating and created cooking shows, comedy sketches, short films and music videos.
The Poor Paul script was written 10 years ago, though the filming process didn’t come to fruition until March of 2021.
“We used as many Rhode Islanders as we could and Cranstonians as we could,” said Carbone, who stars as Paul in the film.
The budget for the film was under $1 million, and the cast and crew spent 13 18-hour days filming in various parts of the state. Sections of Knightsville pop for a Frankenstein scene and the Governor Sprague Mansion made an appearance as the Italian family’s house.
“For what we pulled off for what little resources we had was pretty incredible,” Carbone said.
Paul handles stressful situations through fantasies that take him to different places all over the world – including Greece, Italy, France and Germany. The crew cleverly mimicked these countries without leaving Rhode Island. Carbone said Providence’s canals and gondolas helped with their Venice scene and they were able to use Newport Vineyards for their Germany and Italy shots. Meanwhile, the desert scene was filmed in East Greenwich’s sand dunes.
Carbone’s favorite part of the project was pulling in all the Rhode island resources – whether it be people or locations. He said people and businesses were eager to get involved.
“I always, as much as I can, try to bring my films back to Rhode Island because they’re [people] always so welcoming and excited to do it,” Carbone said.
Carbone is a lifelong Cranstonian and product of Cranston Public Schools. He started at George J. Peters Elementary, moved up to Hugh B. Bain Middle School and graduated from Cranston West in 2010 where he remembers taking media studies with Mr. Jones. Carbone attended New England Institute of Technology for video and audio production.
The red carpet premiere will take place March 5 at Lincoln Cinema (622 George Washington Hwy, Lincoln). Tickets are $14 and can be purchased at EventBrite.com and will not be sold at the door. Arrivals begin at 3 p.m. with the film screening at 4 p.m. followed by a Q&A with the director and cast members. Carbone said half of the tickets have been sold and the event is expected to sell out. The film is rated PG-13 and is an hour and 45 minutes long. Visit poorpaul.com to view the trailer.
Cranston residents in the film include Carbone, John Petrella, Matt Zuena, Kristen Falso, David Carbone. Rhode Island natives include Courtney Danforth, Stephen O'Neil Martin, Brian Vincent, Sissy O'Hara, Robert Marsella and Ana Rita Lopresti. Rhode Island-based band The Complaints (Dean Petrella, Anthony Moretti, Chris Cruz) made an appearance and provided music.
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