Grippi jumpstarts feature film

Ashley Whelan

What began as a creative idea for a Quinnipiac Film Society festival submission has quickly grown into something much more for Vincent Grippi, a senior media production major. When Grippi first set out to write his ideas about revisiting the past and seeing things from a new perspective, he never imagined how his project would escalate.

“I had the idea for a long time about messing with time,” Grippi said. “It kind of revolves around taking a drug or a pill that takes you back to your past. You can’t manipulate it but you can see it as you remember it. Over the summer I spent two or three weeks researching that and collecting a bunch of ideas. so when I started writing’s 104 pages, it took me three days. I sat at my kitchen table and wrote it.”

From these humble beginnings of writing at his kitchen table, Grippi’s idea developed into a feature-length script entitled “The Mercury Cycle.” Grippi’s original plan was to submit the script to the Quinnipiac Film Society’s film competition, but he was thwarted when he discovered that the competition had a 30- minute time limit on submissions. Not to be discouraged, Grippi decided that he still wanted to pursue the idea of turning his script into a real movie.
“Everybody’s always like ‘Oh, NYU, Emerson, Purchase, they’re the only schools that can make real movies, and we’re just from Quinnipiac.’ So my friend and I made a video, an inspirational viral video,” Grippi said. “It came out of nowhere; no one knew what ‘The Mercury Cycle’ was. And a lot of people got interested.”

After spreading the word about his video, Grippi’s endeavor began to grow quickly. Before long, many students were heavily involved in getting “The Mercury Cycle” into production.

“It started really small, and now it’s big to the point where the school has dropped a few elective classes in order to let this be a class,” Grippi said. “It’s almost like an independent study now: some people are even getting credit for it. It’s huge.”

The crew for “The Mercury Cycle” is made entirely of Quinnipiac students, with the exception of one graphic artist. After assembling the beginnings of a crew, Grippi, with the help of his crew, began holding cast auditions in early October. They advertised mainly through, and brought in actors from the local area, as well as from New York and California. After a month-long audition process, Grippi assembled a highly talented cast and crew.
Currently, Grippi and co. are preparing to begin filming, which is expected to start in New York from Jan. 4 to the 10th. Upon the beginning of the spring semester, Grippi’s hope is to have the film complete in time so that many of the crew members who are seniors will have the opportunity to see the finished product on campus before graduation. In the meantime, before filming commences, Grippi and his team are focused on spreading the word about “The Mercury Cycle;” going so far as to create Facebook accounts for the film’s characters.

“We’ve got a professional Web site right now, we’re trying to be in the papers, we’ve got shirts and we are doing a bunch of viral marketing,” Grippi said. “We have a bunch of talented people from all over different majors working together to get this thing known not only here but everywhere.”
The crew plans to take the film to the Sundance Film Festival, and continue spreading publicity for the film in hopes of getting attention from studios. As a small independent film, the crew is working on a mediocre budget, and depending largely on donations from friends and family, and investments from local businesses.

In the spring semester, students can expect to see evidence of “The Mercury Cycle” all over campus, as Grippi hopes to do some of the filming at Quinnipiac. Students may also have the opportunity to appear in the film as extras. Between the cast, crew, and scenery, “The Mercury Cycle” is deeply rooted in Quinnipiac’s community, making it big news on campus. Grippi hopes that when it is finished, the film will be something everyone can be proud of.

“It would be like a dream for me to sit here with the school and watch it,” he said. “I know that they would love it, because it is something that everybody can enjoy. It went from something I wrote at a kitchen table to something really big, and it’s really exciting for all of us.”