After his time spent living in Pittsburgh helped inspire his irreverent first feature “Homemakers,” Colin Healey returned to New York City with fresh eyes.
“One of the things I’ve noticed is that it’s a very high-risk, high-reward culture,” says Healey. “And there are a lot of people there who are making a lot of money, but then spending more than they are making, so they’re very rich people and yet they’re in debt.”
While he hopes not to go into debt himself to make his second feature “For Entertainment Purposes Only” — hence a current campaign on Kickstarter, running through August 25th — Healey is planning to take quite a few risks with the film, which will find humor once more in economic anxiety as the filmmaker previously unearthed in “Homemakers,” in which the squalid conditions of its lead character (Rachel McKeon) at a home that hadn’t been lived in for 20 years manifested itself into all kinds of bad behavior on her part. In “For Entertainment Purposes Only,” he has once again enlisted McKeon to play a down-on-her-luck fortune teller named Dinah who promises Mark, a lovelorn man of wealth, that she can connect him with the woman of his dreams, only to find herself in over her head and consulting experts in the occult community to prevent her arrest. Then again, her client isn’t necessarily whom he seems to be at first, either.
“The film is really about these two lonely people who are unhappy with their situations – Mark has money but no purpose, Dinah has a purpose but it’s morally dubious – who grow close while taking advantage of each other,” says Healey, who had long been intrigued with the idea of someone whose immense purchasing power couldn’t buy love, yet hadn’t found the proper vehicle until last year when he saw a spate of stories in the news about New York psychics peddling their services to make a quick buck. “I started to think about the story of a fortune teller who is sort of a scammer, but at the same time, she was also getting scammed by our culture, telling her to spend all the money she was making.”
Though “For Entertainment Purposes Only” will ultimately be about two people whose fantasies become intertwined and eventually crash down to force a confrontation with reality, Healey plans to have audiences experience the same exhilaration Dinah and Mark do in their reveries. Whereas “Homemakers” was able to imaginatively repurpose the decay of a dilapidated duplex into a rumpus room for its heroine, the writer/director aims to make the whole of New York his playground for his latest, bringing back a talented set of collaborators that will be able to go wild with the fantastical elements of “For Entertainment Purposes Only.” He has designed the film with a specific goal of “giving everyone something to do,” with cinematographer Ben Powell (director of “Barge”) once more behind the scenes to make the most of the neon lights, provided by new production designer Mac Pohanka, as well as composer Matt Bryan, whose dissonant, inventive score for “Homemakers” (finally made available recently by Factory25) presaged a fusion of synth and Eastern European folk instruments to underline Dinah’s madcap adventures as a medium.
Although the film will be a lot of fun, none of it will be at the expense of the tarot card readers, astrologists and psychics that Healey has become quite enamored of while doing research for the film. In recent months, he has spent a lot of time ensuring that the film’s tarot recreation will be accurate and finding ways to bring together the magic of cinema with what he’s been learning about aura readings, crystal healing and the like.
“There’s a lot to all of these traditions that have been pushed to the side by 20th Century culture and I think we’re entering a period where people are opening their eyes up to invisible arts and ways to access the human heart other than scientific ones,” says Healey, who is aiming for a fall start to shoot the comedy. “As a film, we really embrace that and we’re going to try to give the occult community something to be excited about.”
They surely won’t be the only ones, if “For Entertainment Purposes Only” can meet its fundraising goal.