Filming A Parallel Universe

Arts & Culture

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY JAN 8, 2016

Joining the ranks of budding area filmmakers looking to put the region on the map, the one-man film crew known as Barry Gaines is nothing if not ambitious. Moving to Sarasota from New York little more than a year ago, Gaines and his studio, Gaines Entertainment, are currently starting production on a sprawling science-fiction/fantasy epic web series entitled A World of Worlds. With plans for a 14-episode debut season, Gaines hopes to have the first episode completed by April.

Eschewing the standard independent film fare of character dramas and plodding meditations on social ills, Gaines went straight to a parallel universe and a planet named Ressear, the focal point for his story of evil warlocks, ancient prophecies and one woman’s race to save her world. “Why can’t we make our own Avatar? Why can’t we make our own Star Wars?” asked Gaines, cognizant of the weirdness of his proposition but seeing it as strength. If Sarasota is to stand out in the film world, then it needs to be seen as willing to take risks, he continued, and kickstarting a whole fictional universe from the mind of a single writer/director/producer, he’ll admit, is anything but safe. But his chief concern is not failure, but that someone somewhere else will beat him to it; that the next Lord of the Rings is being written somewhere in Georgia and he's already rested for too long.

Currently filming, Gaines has enjoyed putting the town itself on display, shooting at various places such as the Sarasota Wine Bar, the HuB, the Manatee Performing Arts Center and recently at Dolphin Aviation. A purely Florida production, all of the cast and crew are locally-based, which is important to Gaines, who sees A World of Worlds as a potential jumping off point for the region’s film scene. The resources are here, he’s sure of it; the rest of the industry simply needs to catch on and filmmakers here need to make that happen. “Even Miami had to do that at one time,” said Gaines, remembering a time before Miami Vice when the town was known more for "swamps and gangsters" than cinema potential. “But we can build something new here, something creative.”

Pictured: Barry Gaines directs actor Daphnee Avril Bless on a green screen set. Photo courtesy of Gaines Entertainment.

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