By Olivia Wirta
Special to the Voice
Fitchburg film director Jennifer Potts will be teaming up with Shirley actor Will Bouvier for her upcoming short film “The Extraordinary World of Cecily Blinkstop.”
The film is set to shoot in Fitchburg from July 14 through 18. Interior shots of the film will take place inside Potts’ old Victorian farmhouse while the exteriors are being shot at a small farm in Fitchburg. The short film is a “proof-of-concept” for a longer film Potts wrote.
“It is based on the first 15 pages of a feature film that I am in development for,” Potts said.
Bouvier, who is working with Potts, has been acting for 30 years, including on the sets of Potts’ films. His passion for film started from his own family. “Growing up I was surrounded by it,” Bouvier recalled. “It just seemed obvious to me.”
While Bouvier has been surrounded by film nearly his whole life, Potts started her film directing career later on in life. Early on, she was a theatre director after graduating from college 25 years ago with a degree in theatre.
“I founded and ran a theatre in Fitchburg,” Potts said.
After being a theatre director for the majority of her career, she decided she wanted to switch things up. “About five years ago when my kids were all going off to college, I decided that I wanted to go back to school too,” Potts said.
She started creating films after graduating from the New Hampshire Institute of Art with her MSA in screenwriting. Together, this local duo have been collaborating on films for almost 10 years. When asked about working with Bouvier, Potts shared how he is great to work with in many aspects. “We usually take more than one take of a shot, but Will gets it the first time everytime,” Potts said. “It saves me a lot of time and money…He is as good as they get.”
The process of writing comes naturally to Potts, who has written a number of short films as well as four feature length films.
“I think the natural thing that happens when you write is you write what you know instead of creating completely unknown characters even if you think they’re unknown,” said Potts. “You go back and look and you’re like ‘Oh ya that’s Samantha from 6th grade!'”
Although Potts has only been in the film industry for five years, she has high hopes for her future. “I see myself getting an Oscar in 10 years,” Potts said optimistically.
Bouvier is a husband and a father to two children, so he doesn’t do as much acting work as he used to.
“I do whatever has both integrity and it’s go to be worth my time now that I’m a dad. If it’s a two week commitment for no money then unfortunately I can’t do it whereas in my 20s I would do anything,” Bouvier said.
Even though he can’t take every opportunity he is presented with, he still has an optimistic attitude about his roles. “I truly believe all the small parts add up and people take notice,” said Bouvier.
And he doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon. “Acting is one of those businesses where you’re never too young to be apart of or too old to retire from,” Bouvier said. As far as his aspirations for the future, Bouvier has never been looking for anything superficial, but rather something more personal. “I’ve never been looking for fame, rather just personal success,” Bouvier said.
The short film will be making its debut in film festivals.
“We’ll be looking to submit this to festivals where we know there will be film financiers out there looking for their next project,” Potts said.
As well as submitting it to festivals with financiers, it will also be submitted to Academy qualifying festivals. If the short film wins in its category, it will automatically be considered for an Academy Award.