Years ago, the Occupy Wall Street protests played out in the media. You remember it. They were the people crazy and passionate enough to live in tents in New York’s Financial District to represent what they called the 99 percent.
But what happened to the protesters after they were evicted from Zuccotti Park? Where did they go, how did their lives change, did they ever shower?
Gene Gallerano takes a gander at it by writing, producing and starring in Occupy, Texas, a film about Beau Baker, a former Occupy Wall Street protester who comes home to find he’s the sole guardian of his two little sisters after his parents died in a car accident. Going from camping out with thousands of other occupiers to all of a sudden becoming a sort of “role model” is of course a tough adjustment for Baker.
Gallerano, who is from East Dallas, thought about making the film on two separate occasions. On one, he asked his mother who would take care of his three little sisters if his parents were to ever die. The second occasions came after working as a nurse to a man who was an active Occupy Wall Street protester. Gallerano observed the protests as they were happening and instinctively began to wonder about the people.
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“What the hell are all these people going to do when this is over?" he asked. "These guys are camping out in the park in the financial district in New York City. Where are these guys going to go? They look crazy and they have tattoos and piercings and are a part of drum circles and they’ve got this wild kind of energy. But what happens in the vacuum of all of that? Because it will end. And of course it did.”
So Occupy, Texas was born. The film was shot almost entirely in Dallas — with a one-day exception in New York — in different parts of Lake Highlands, at Gallerano’s mother’s law firm, his friends’ parent’s houses, Valley View Mall, Gallerano’s old middle school, St. John’s Episcopal School, Dallas World Aquarium, and more.
The cast also features Texas natives, like Janine Turner, Peri Gilpin, Lorelei Linklater and Nikki Moore, giving the entire film a real Texas feel. (Unlike, say, Dallas Buyers Club, which wasn't shot in Dallas.)
Before the film premieres at the Dallas International Film Festival at 7:30 p.m. April 15, at the Angelika Film Center, the Dallas Observer has the first official look at the trailer. Check it out.