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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

MESSENGER EXCLUSIVE: Michael Cera to Star in, Produce Locally-Shot ‘Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point’ 


Filming on the major buzz feature is scheduled to take place from mid-February to mid-March in and around Holbrook, Selden and St. James on Long Island. Written by Smithtown natives Tyler Taormina & Eric Berger, and Kevin Anton, and directed by Taormina, Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point has been ubiquitously pitched as ‘Home Alone-meets-Dazed and Confused’— an accurate selling point, per The Messenger’s assessments. 

Throw in Parenthood (1989) and To Grandmother’s House We Go (1992) for good measure, and what you have is a sweet-asit-is soulful depiction of a family trying to maintain order. However, we all know the most memorable holiday experiences are when you embrace one dysfunctional occurrence after the next and come together in harmonious self-awareness. 

Omnes Films, an independent production company formed in 2010, has the full support and cooperation of The Messenger Papers and other local organizations as they embark on fulfilling their mission: to create the quintessential Long Island holiday comedy. There’s family drama. There’s music. There’s a 24-hour bagel spot teens are magnetically drawn to like an old Disney cartoon flying to an unattended pie. Must we go on? 

“The support of the community means everything to us,” said producer and Omnes Films co-founder, David Croley Broyles. “This movie is timeless. It’s heartwarming, inspiring, tender and hilarious. We are inviting the world to celebrate Christmas together on Long Island every year.”

A few well-known performers are currently attached to the production. Most notably, Michael Cera will co-star and produce. The 34-year-old Canadian actor first rose to fame as George Michael Bluth in Arrested Development (2003- 2006, 2013, 2018-2019) and as Evan opposite Jonah Hill’s Seth in the last great high school comedy before cell phones, Superbad (2007). Cera also delivered acclaimed performances in Juno (2007), Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008), Youth in Revolt (2009), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) and Molly’s Game (2017). 

“We are reanimating our childhood Christmas traditions. I believe this is the most powerful way to honor these cherished family memories,” said Taormina, 31. Profiled by The Messenger last October, the director helped develop shows for Nickelodeon in Los Angeles before embracing independent filmmaking a few years ago. His first two features, Ham on Rye (2019) and Happer’s Comet (2022), have received praise along the festival circuit. This has set him and his team in motion to confidently tackle their biggest project to date— one they’re asking Long Island’s natives to welcome like a gift under the tree, and one they can reap the benefits of for years to come. 

The Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point crew’s foremost calls to action: prop collection, housing/lodging, and vintage cars to be featured in the film. If you are local to Smithtown and Brookhaven and have an extra room, or several, or a residence to spare, and want to be involved in what some principal players on the film and in the community believe could become the next big holiday classic, contact [email protected]

“The film has a lot of heart and has the full support of many other leaders across our districts,” said Assemblyman Doug Smith (Holbrook). “It absolutely has mine as well. It’s a beautiful community effort that can remind us about the importance of celebrating the arts. It also reminds us the good tidings of the holidays can and will extend well past the winter, carry into the springtime and beyond.” 

To the residents of both townships: the team also asks for your general support throughout their month-long shoot in and around your neighborhood. They consist of a small crew that is not looking to impede on your turf. Rather, they simply want to highlight selected areas for the cinematic delights everyone around town knows they offer, and soon, the rest of the movie-loving world will come to as well. The film is full of cheers, and will even shed some tears. It undoubtedly will move people to the best kinds of instant nostalgia for years to come. 

“There’s something about shooting where you grew up that gives the film an extra quality of authenticity,” said Calogero Carucci, 27, of Smithtown, another producer on the film. 

“The places, the people, the language are all so familiar to Tyler and I,” he added. “Christmas Eve’s at my parents’ house were always full of laughs, food, and dysfunction, and that’s this film. To me, it’s very much a movie about acknowledging family members who have helped raise us through and in spite of the antics that occur on Christmas Eve. And it’s exciting to see different members of the community willing to lend a hand in helping make the film a reality.” 

The Messenger spotlighted and gave Carucci’s directorial debut, the Long Island-laden tragicomedy-drama Moving in 2008 (2021), a rave review in June of last year. Gus Passanante, a true Long Island character in every sense, fellow Smithtown native and the namesake star of Carucci’s mockumentative follow-up, Long Island Gus (2022), is also part of the Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point team. 

“Of course the movie will be funny,” Taormina guarantees, “have you looked around at us Long Islanders? We’re nuts.”

Michael J. Reistetter
Michael J. Reistetter
Mike Reistetter, former Editor in Chief, is now a guest contributor to The Messenger Papers. Mike's current career in film production allows for his unique outlook on entertainment writing. Mike has won second place in "Best Editorials" at the New York Press Association 2022 Better Newspaper Contest.