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Indie filmmaker’s work finally hits the big screen

July 21, 2008|By Alison Tully

Michael Barlin was so determined to make his first film that he decided to charge it all on personal credit cards to make it happen.

In 1998, after pitching a few of his films to no avail, Barlin took the matter into his own hands and put $65,000 on his credit cards to make “The Pig Farm.”

The film is about a plot conceived by a hit man and a hick to bury bodies at a pig farm. The dark comedy received much accolades by publications such as The Village Voice, in New York, but it never made it to the big screen — until Monday night.

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Representatives from the Hollywood Bungalow asked Barlin if they could project his movie on their outside patio, the film’s first showing in six years.

“I felt like it was a real fun event, I have been through all the festival things which are so stressful, so the fact that this is six years later, it is just pure fun,” Barlin said. “It’s a chance to just enjoy the film.”

Friends and fans, including Henry Mercado, gathered at candlelight tables Monday night to catch the screening.

“Michael is a great filmmaker, he is so much younger than me and yet I have learned so much from him,” said Mercado, a fellow screenwriter who has known Barlin for eight years. “I have always been very curious about the film so I came out tonight to check it out.”

Barlin was inspired to do the film during his high-school years after heard about the Mafia’s dealings near his hometown.

“An FBI agent came to talk to one of my classes, and he told us that a lot of the Mafia guys dumped their trash in farms near where I grew up in upstate New York,” Barlin said. “I thought it was a great idea for a film, so when I found out a friend of mine had a farm with pigs, I thought ‘Why not?’”

Barlin has always been a creative thinker, said Nicole Giambone.

“He has always been so passionate about screenwriting and he is still plugging away at it after all these years,” said Giambone, who attended SUNY New Paltz with Barlin. “He really is pursuing his dream and there is something to be said for that.”

Although Barlin works full time for Allianz insurance company in Burbank and is a married father of two, he still finds the time to pen new screenplays.

This past year, he has been trying to get “S.C.O.P.E.” produced, a comedy about two astronomers trapped inside an observatory who discover that an asteroid is hurtling toward Earth.

Casting director Roxane Davis that is working with Barlin on “S.C.O.P.E.” said that Barlin is simply one of a kind.

“When he gave me ‘Pig Farm’ to watch, I was expecting another indie movie but I was very surprised because I loved it,” she said.

“And he did a perfect job casting it.”


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