You can learn a lot over a cup of tea with some friends. I recently joined two Brookline roommates, Rebecca Geller and Katie White, to discuss life, Hollywood nights, and their roles in the film Bulletproof, premiering at Coolidge Corner Theatre tonight.
The film is produced by Zeno Mountain Farm, an organization that runs camps that support people of all ages with disabilities. Camps throughout the year focus on a range of activities, from sports to music to adventure travel. Zeno’s Film Camp, which produced Bulletproof, has been popular with participants since its inception in 2004. While many actors and participants have disabilities, the films themselves are not about disability. Bulletproof is a western, and past work included sci-fi, horror and a rock and roll documentary. Last year’s Finding Zac Efron, a quest-caper, featured cameos from Ted Danson, Lou Ferrigno and Mario Lopez.
“The integrated cast is a huge part of the ethos,” said Katie, who co-stars in the film as heroine Ashley. “Our DP doesn’t have disabilities; our sound guy does.”
The cast and crew were deeply committed to the production, filming during a two-week camp based in Los Angeles in 2012. “Bulletproof was a real hard movie to make because it took so long,” said Rebecca. “We had to take off all my nail polish and jewelry because the part I was playing was from the olden days.”
In advance of the premiere, Zeno produced a teaser music video, Prairie Town Dubstep. It features friends of Zeno ranging from 12 to 58 years old.
Katie and Rebecca became acquainted in 2010 on a camping trip on Nantucket. The two told me they didn’t hit it off initially: Katie, at that time a newcomer to Zeno, was unused to Rebecca’s speech and predilection for M&Ms. Rebecca was similarly unsure what to make of Katie. The two grew closer over the summer and in subsequent Zeno camps, which serve people with a range of disabilities, including cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, and traumatic brain injury.
Yet their relationship blossomed at the following year’s music camp in LA during the production of the song “Burning Like a Fire”, made for the soundtrack of the Zeno film Burning Like a Fire: The Legacy of Ron Everett. One night after filming, the crew visited the Viper Room, the famed Sunset Strip music club known more for celebrity sightings and rough characters than for Zeno denizens. All involved- disabled and not, Hollywood and not- had an excellent time, and the experience solidified Katie and Rebecca’s friendship. “If it weren’t for Zeno, taking a handful of people out to the Viper Room and taking that leap,” said Katie, “I wouldn’t know I could incorporate Rebecca into my life.”
The two have lived together in Brookline for over a year, where Katie helps facilitate Rebecca’s independence. Katie reflected that her work with Zeno, and specifically her relationship with Rebecca, was one of mutual growth and sharing. “We both like to sing and laugh and be silly, and we both have weaknesses,” she said. “We each have moments where we need to take a break, use our words and calm down.”
Bulletproof’s Boston premiere is this Thursday, May 30 at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. RSVPs in advance are mandatory as the event will sell out. Get your tickets and pledge a donation directly with Zeno Mountain Farm.