There is no question that modern life is drastically different for some individuals. Modern technology now supports lifestyles in a way never before possible. There are inevitable events and occurrences though. This is the basis of the film A Meditation. This film is the story of Michael, a middle-aged man recently unemployed from his job teaching film. Michael meets a young woman responding to his Craigslist ad selling a DVR. The two begin an intense and consuming affair that has Michael questioning the meaning of love, sex and happiness. Brian Mancini is a producer on this film starring Harold Perrineau (Romeo + Juliet, Lost, 28 Days Later) as Michael. The film presents the options for modern technology to be a benefit as well as a hindrance. Although we love our gadgets and the ways in which they connect us, we should not lose sight of the basic need for interacting with others as well as ourselves through introspection. We can connect physically but intimacy, as with true beauty, is much more than skin deep.
Brian’s reputation as an exemplary producer caused Joe Petricca (director/writer/producer and Executive Vice Dean of the American Film Institute Conservatory) and Maggie Biggar to seek out Mancini to work on A Meditation. Petricca states, “I was impressed by Brian’s dedication to the craft. Each thing that he brought to set made the film better. I’ve always found him to be an extremely innovative producer, with a great attitude towards the craft and the partners he works with. Regardless of the budget, Brian’s work is always top quality. I admire the way that he can manage very large teams and simultaneously have the ability to multitask various high priorities. It’s an overwhelming situation to contend with and yet, a great producer like Brian seems to handle it with ease…which is exactly why I wanted him on A Meditation.”
The film stars Harold Perrineau and Samantha Colicchio in the leading roles and was shot entirely on one set. Mancini admits, “When shooting in one location, everything is dramatically easier. Just not having to completely unpack and pack up every day saves a great deal of time, which can be used to shoot. There are always challenges; for instance, the neighborhood might get cranky or someone might decide to blare rock music while we’re shooting an exterior. It’s easy enough to handle this by obtaining the permit and notifying the surrounding area ahead of time that the production is going to be at this location. That doesn’t negate all obstacles though.” Explaining the seemingly never ending role of a producer, Mancini comments, “The Producer’s job never ends. In post-production we are tirelessly carrying the project towards the finish line. From watching the edit and giving notes, scheduling turn over from the editing room to color correction or post-sound, accounting, credits, applying to festivals…the list goes on and on. There is a long calendar of deadlines that needs to be met and it’s very easy for projects to get stuck in post-production. Producers need to keep making sure everything is working to the schedule and if it isn’t, find a way to get it back on schedule.”
Brian’s spent his youth in Unionville (and later in Ontario, Canada) with many outdoor activities like: hiking, hunting, camping, etc. As with anyone, he understands that technology has become ubiquitous. He empathizes with the audience of the film, stating, “Technology is undoubtedly making a lot of things easier in everyday life but in another way, it’s taking a lot away. It’s become a safety for a lot of people, myself included. I feel lost and useless if I don’t know where my phone is. However, I think it’s important to find a balance and to get away from it at times. Every few months you can find me in the woods camping where I have no cell service and am just hiking up a mountain with a backpack of essentials. There is a stress technology puts on people to always be online and connected and it’s great to leave that in the city.” Though the internet (via Craigslist) the two main characters in A Meditation meet and connect in a very physical way but they are still forced to deal with their emotions in a traditional manner. A Meditation is an interesting study about where we draw the lines of interaction in modern life. Just as organisms evolve in their physicality, we are in an era in which social interaction is evolving. What makes Michael especially intriguing in this film is that his life is undergoing a transformation in terms of work and his romantic life. It’s one of the core messages of the film that enticed Mancini to come aboard. Brian confirms, “To think ‘Am I a good enough person?’, ‘Am I liked?’, ‘Can I be better?’, to realize one’s plan about what’s next in their life and to find what they want to achieve next…I think everyone has been there or is there. It’s rewarding to me to help present those ideas to the public. The thought that somewhere in a theater, there is someone who is encouraged by a film I helped to make…maybe something as seemingly small as keeping the day’s schedule on time insures that we stay on budget and therefore we can pay the salary of the best professionals out there…I love that feeling and want to keep doing it to the best of my potential.”