As an up-and-coming filmmaker, Kirk Sullivan has to make difficult choices every day - who to cast, what scenes to cut, where to shoot.
Picking where to premiere his new short film, however, was a no-brainer.
"I have always had a great amount of pride in my home," Sullivan told the Enterprise. "It's always been a dream of mine to establish myself and have the flexibility to make films out of the Adirondacks and one day reside in the Adirondacks again.
Kirk Sullivan, wearing a plaid shirt, says he feels at ease when he’s shooting films. He’ll premiere his new short film, “The Come Up,” at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on Wednesday.
Poster for Kirk Sullivan's new short film
"I want to share my work at home, where so many people have supported me and contributed to my projects."
The 30-year-old Saranac Lake native will make his way back to the Adirondacks next week to screen his new movie, "The Come Up," at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Showtime is 7 p.m. Wednesday, with a question-and-answer session and reception to follow. Tickets are $5.
Sullivan, who now resides in Los Angeles, wrapped up work on the film at the end of July. It's his most ambitious work yet, and follows 2004's "Loyalty's Lines," which explored the strength of the bond between two friends. That film was shot in Saranac Lake and featured some local talent, including Ampersound music store owner Mark Coleman.
Sullivan also directed "Scratching the Surface" when he was in high school and "Tyus' Project" in 2002, and co-directed two music videos.
Sullivan, who studied cinema and television production at the University of Southern California, has spent the last two years working for blockbuster Hollywood producer Joel Silver. If you've been to the theater in the last 15 years, you've probably seen Silver's work; notches on his belt include "The Matrix" trilogy, "V for Vendetta" and "Sherlock Holmes."
Using the online fundraising website Kickstarter, Sullivan collected $15,000 in donations from friends, family and fans to fund "The Come Up." He also used his own money and had help from two other producers: Chris Boyd and Alyson Bruno.
"I'm hoping to use it as a vehicle to display my directing skills and my directing abilities to hopefully push my career down the road and get some exposure as a director and as a filmmaker," Sullivan said.
"The Come Up," a 10-minute short, features Patrick Adams, star of the USA Network's "Suits," for which he received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series. (Adams' competition was pretty fierce; the field included Steve Buscemi of "Boardwalk Empire" and Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad.") It also stars Troian Bellisario of "Pretty Little Liars" fame.
"This is the first time I've worked with people of this caliber," Sullivan said. "I knew Patrick at school at USC. The part was perfect for him; we were lucky to have him."
Sullivan said he didn't feel any added pressure working with Adams and Bellisario. He said he's used to putting a lot of pressure on himself.
"Once we raised all this money, that only increased the pressure," Sullivan said. "I felt a sense of responsibility to make the people who contributed proud."
The film was shot over a three-day period in December 2011 at the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles.
"It's a fun action comedy," Sullivan said. "It's a heist that takes place on a film set, where a young assistant is involved in this complex heist to steal the company's movie. ... I just wanted to do something that kind of showed that I had the capability to make a bigger film.
"I'm really proud of it and excited about it, and I'm really happy to be able to come home and have the premiere in Lake Placid."
Sullivan's father, Fred, was a filmmaker, too; his credits include "Cold River" and "The Beer Drinker's Guide to Fitness and Filmmaking." Sullivan said he never set out to follow in his father's footsteps, but it happened anyway.
"I never grew up dreaming or planning to be a filmmaker, but it was a realistic option for me because I grew up with it around me," he said. "Once I got older and started finding my own artistic sensibilities, it seemed natural and like the right thing to do. I always try to follow my instincts."
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.