Lawrence Feeney wrapped production this month on a film shot in Pasco County. Now, he’s preparing to show it to the public.
Feeney, who makes films independently, is premiering "Pharmboy" next week. The film tells a fictional tale about a very real issue in Pasco County. It is the story of Gunner, a 16-year-old who is born addicted to prescription pills. The movie premieres at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at Regal Hollywood 8 in Port Richey.
Feeney’s production company is called Pasco Films, and he runs it with his wife. He lives in Trinity and has made several short films in the past. "Pharmboy" will be his first feature-length film.
“It was a uniquely fun and mind numbing experience,” said Feeney, who also has experience acting.
Feeney, wrote, cast, produced and directed the film himself and also got some producers to help fund it. He also got a $2,500 grant approved by Pasco County Commissioners and did some fundraising online, as well.
Feeney has worked on it for more than a month and a half now. He pulled 16 hour days and worked with people performing voluntarily or for minimal pay. Feeney came across conflicting work hours for an actor and an unexpected difficulty with a location.
"Pharmboy" was filmed entirely at places throughout Pasco County, including private homes in New Port Richey and Port Richey, Dobies Funeral Home in New Port Richey, the West Pasco Government Center, the Land O’ Lakes Jail, Hudson High, which Feeney attended as a student, and SunWest Mine/ Harbourtowne in Aripeka. He spoke with Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco about the prescription pill problem in Pasco, and a couple deputies appeared in the film.
Local businesses, such as Dobies and Friendly Kia also contributed, support. The owner of Tampa-based Five Studios was a producer for the film.
His film stars local actors and also an appearance from Donovan Patton, who played the role of a host on the Nickelodeon kids’ show "Blue‘s Clues."
Production on "Pharmboy" wrapped Nov. 4, and now Feeney is “editing the heck out of it” in advance of the premiere.
Not only was the film shot locally and about the locally relevant issue of prescription pill addiction, it also will generate funds for some local organizations.
Feeney plans to donate half the proceeds from the premiere to four local causes: Friends of the New Port Richey Library, Greater New Port Richey Main Street and also Cotee River Bike Fest and the Chasco Fiesta, which are backed by the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce.
If there are profits from the movie post-premiere, he wants to donate some of them to those local organizations.
He took to “crowdfunding” platform Indiegogo to raise money for the film and raised more than $3,000.
The film is still not fully funded, and Feeney paid some of it out of his own pocket. The film does not have a distributor yet.
He also got help from New Port Richey city leaders, including donations from New Port Richey Library Director Susan Dillinger and city councilwoman Judy DeBella Thomas.
“I was delighted to be a part of this exciting project, and acted as the 'connector' of sorts, connecting Larry to potential actors, sponsors and other key personnel who became a part of the project,” DeBella Thomas said.
"'Pharmboy' is a winner for Pasco on many levels; it signals a beginning of a new industry in Pasco, it harkens back to New Port Richey's history as a movie mecca, it benefits nonprofits that tie in to the history, culture and business climate in our community. The movie itself has a timely and compelling message for everyone with a redemptive message - it will put Pasco on the radar for the film making industry.”
Feeney wants to highlight Pasco as a place to make films and to also make movies here. He is grateful to the support from the various parts of the community, including business, government and the public.
Now that he’s almost done with the film: ”I want to sleep for a week, and then I want to do it again.”
If you go: Pharmboy premieres at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at Regal Hollywood 18,
6701 Cinema Drive, Port Richey. Tickets cost $10 and can be bought online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/294484
Check out Pasco Films at: https://www.facebook.com/pascofilms?ref=ts&fref=ts