ROSELLE, NJ - What is your definition of the Arts? When you ask some people, the first thing that comes to mind is paintings, crafts, and other hands-on types of works. Others will say it's beautiful music. But what about Film Making? Yes, that is art too!
Roselle’s newest Councilman John Fortuna - a graduate of Rutgers University - is one who takes the "Arts” very seriously and looks to bring some focus to the local arts scene. As a video producer himself, he has written and produced his own web series called “Mikey,” a (dark) comedy comprised of five short episodes plus a trailer. It's based on an amalgamation of characters that Fortuna grew up within Linden and all still stay in touch with today.
According to Fortuna, “as these stories had unfolded over the years, I knew how funny and quirky they were; and always thought about building a show around them and seeing what my team and I could do with them. It was awesome to hear them brought to life during our casting sessions. And, as a corporate video producer, it was a welcome change to try something new.”
Shot it in Linden in the fall of 2017 “Mikey” was released last spring. Fortuna used local locations such as the Linwood Inn in Linden - thanks to owner John Neshimka who is also a high school friend - and Fortuna’s cousin's house.
“It was gratifying how people responded during the shooting of Mikey, and the aftermath; there was a lot of excitement when shooting and those who've seen it are enthusiastic,” says Fortuna.
Bringing it back to Roselle, Fortuna said, “At the recent League of Municipalities meeting in Atlantic City, I sat in on a workshop on how the arts can help revitalize a town. Now, that doesn't have to mean major films or TV shows, although that would be nice. But opening our borough to young, aspiring ambitious filmmakers and other local talents could pay dividends now and in the future by increasing Roselle's visibility and showcasing our community’s talents to those outside of our community, and I look to focus on that this year!”