MOM on the RIGHT: Making Entertainment Great Again | The Man Behind ‘Tapestry’
By TLB Media Director: Corine Gatti-Santillo
I have written about Hollywood and the absence of choices people have in films. I have written about how Hollywood is excessively political when all we yearn for is entertainment. Today, with movies like Unplanned and Unbreakable topping the box office in 2019 – there are more opportunities for Christians to enjoy clean entertainment.
Tapestry is one of the films taking us on this journey.
The film is a family drama with Stephen Baldwin as embattled Ryan Goodwin, a man whose life is quickly descending. His parents are played by veteran actors Tina Louise and Burt Young as they try to help their distressed son with the expectation, he’ll become whole again.
Rob DePalo wrote Tapestry: his first film based on personal experience. DePalo lost his job in the banking industry, struggled with his mother’s failing health and faced marriage troubles.
However, one Divine appointment with an acquaintance transformed his life, and Tapestry was born.
A Yankee fan (I won’t judge him on this!), a true New Yorker, and the man behind Tapestry talks with MOTR.
MOTR: Hollywood seems to be losing its grip and is becoming too political. How do you see inspiring films like yours making a difference?
RD: I feel as if Tapestry seeks to steer clear of making any judgment about the views in the world. The film stays on the true basics of family, life, death, disappointment and triumph. We sought to steer clear of preaching and instead tell a story that folks of different backgrounds could all relate to.
MOTR: What inspired you to write the script for Tapestry?
RD: About seven years ago I was dealing with the same issues as the main character “Ryan.” I had a lot of sad thoughts in my head and was suffering from depression though I did not realize it at the time. Then one eventful evening I ran into an old friend Jim “Worm” Higgins who I had not seen in 30 years. He reminded me of when I was young and had thoughts of being a writer but never pursued it. He got me thinking and I began to chronicle the events that were occurring in my life.
MOTR: What is the main theme of the movie?
RD: Tapestry tries to tackle quite a bit of material and parallel some areas of the Bible. That said, the biggest themes of the movie are a belief in God’s existence and the circle of life within a given family; the good, the bad, the triumphs and the sorrows and the thought that nothing in life is random.
MOTR: Tell us about the amazing talent that loved your script.
RD: Stephen Baldwin was the first major star that we signed to do the film. We originally had cast the film with almost all “unknowns”, but God brought forth a thought in our production team that Stephen would be a perfect choice to play the lead. We approached his manager and proposed a few different options. When Stephen read the script, he was very drawn to the “everyman” quality of the character and felt the film was unique as it could appeal to both a Christian audience as well as a “secular” crowd. He liked that the Christianity kind of burst out in the last third of the film and made a big impact. Burt Young and Tina Louise were equally excited about the material, especially since it was a departure from roles they had typically played over the years. It was surreal watching them act and play out the material that I had put to paper (with the help of co-writer/director Ken Kushner).
MOTR: How was it working with Stephen Baldwin? What was it like to see him act in your first film?
RD: Being that the film was based on my own life experiences, it was even more special watching from the sidelines as he brought my feelings to life. I think he did a great job capturing a guy who was beaten down by life and almost did not have the energy to fight. Thankfully God interceded in my life and brought forth a turnaround that Stephen beautifully portrayed. I was not surprised at how good he was as I had seen him in other films and was always impressed by his ability and range. I think what did surprise me is how collaborative he was and how down to earth. The same could certainly be said for Tina and Burt.
MOTR: How did God open doors for you to make the film?
RD: I feel as if God sent messengers to me. As I mentioned earlier, my old pal Worm was certainly a very serendipitous visitor for me. He lived in California and was visiting his mom for a few days in New York. What were the odds we would walk into the same bar on the same night? And when I lost my job in Brooklyn and reluctantly went to work in Manhattan, I met Producer Mike Yacovone. Again, was this just a lucky find? I don’t think so. God was working to make things happen in my life. I am not exactly sure why God wanted me to make this film, but I do feel that he used me as a vessel to speak to people in the world. Maybe it was to tell people not to give up when it feels as if the walls are caving in around you. Maybe it was to say that there is something beyond this world which is very rewarding if we can just find the faith to believe. Whatever God’s plan, I hope I was able to do his will through this project.
MOTR: Any lessons learned from making the movie?
RD: From a technical standpoint, my biggest lessons were how necessary good sound is to a film and to perhaps budget better for post-production. All in all, I think for a first film, it was a huge success. But there were little lessons here and there that I will take forth on future projects to make the highest quality films I can. From a personal standpoint, I learned how supportive family can be. For instance, my brother Rick not only invested in the film but allowed us access to his home for seven days to film large sections of the film. He also acted in the film, always clad with the infamous “orange tie.” So many other friends and family pitched in one way or another, with time or money or costumes or locations. Too many friends to mention but God Bless them all and I hope they realize how appreciative I am.
MOTR: What is your next project?
RD: I am currently working on a script about two lifelong friends who have pulled apart via a love triangle. One goes on to follow a life serving God, the other a rich, cold-hearted CEO. A close friend of mine Vincent Lopreto, who also acted and invested in Tapestry, has a screenplay as well that I am looking to assist him with. It is also a faith-based drama with a theme of racism.
Rob DePalo and others like him are taking command of the industry and are changing Hollywood one movie at a time. What is special about this film and I suspect for future projects of DePalo, is telling stories that reflect real life struggles, while offering an opportunity to find hope.
Tapestry is available on Amazon Prime Video. Distributor: Bridgestone Multimedia. Please click on Tapestry for more information.
About TLB Media Director – Corine Gatti-Santillo. (MOM on THE RIGHT)
Corine’s tool belt holds two decades as an editor, investigative reporter, and web content strategist. This has given her the fuel to provide encouraging and aspirational insights on news of the day and cultural trends. She is a journalist and analyst extraordinaire …
Corine’s experience as a senior editor for Belifenet.com was an opportunity that positioned her well, including having an interview of hers picked up by the Washington Post.
In an era of “fake news” and pundits, those delivering information through ideological lenses, Corine offers fresh, lively, bias-free coverage and commentary. It’s truth that’s truly inspirational. She is a graduate of Norfolk State University and is a gifted writer and editor, savvy interviewer, poised and diplomatic correspondent, effective team leader and production controller, and skilled in marketing and reader-viewer-ship building initiatives.
She also offers articulate, authoritative broadcast analysis – with wit and whimsy – as a sole guest or as a roundtable panelist. Corine and her husband, Rocky, live in Virginia with their daughter, Aria Brooklyn and pup Maggie.
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