The mob’s the thing for successful local indie filmmaker
Fred Carpenter (left) directs Armand Assante during a “Charlie Mantle” shoot.

ADV/PHOTO CREDIT: LynneAnne Daly

The mob’s the thing for successful local indie filmmaker

Story By: NICOLE FUENTES
7/31/2014


Shirley independent film producer, director and writer Fred Carpenter just won Audience Favorite at the local Long Island Film Festival and Expo for his recent movie, “Charlie Mantle.”

“Let’s be honest, I am out of my mind,” said the exuberant Carpenter. “I make these movies for a hundred grand and I want to compete with movies that are $100 million. I am nuts, but you know I am still thinking Super Bowl.”

Carpenter grew up in Baldwin and has been a resident of Shirley for over 24 years. He said he fell in love with the hamlet while attending Stony Brook University.

At Stony Brook University, Carpenter received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts for film and theatre with a background in journalism. He said he originally enrolled as a science major because his mother wanted him to be a doctor.

“I got away from home, went to college and said, ‘I don’t want to be a doctor. Instead, I want to ruin my life and make movies,’ ” he said jokingly.

Carpenter, 52, has made 20 movies. Almost all of them are action films, but he especially enjoys creating mob movies. His recent films, “Charlie Mantle,”  “The Night Never Sleeps” and “Send No Flowers,” are about the Russian, Spanish and Italian mobs, respectively.

Carpenter said action movies are more sellable to distributors and studios rather than dialogue-driven movies. His set consists of about 12 crewmembers, in contrast to the bigger Hollywood films that, he said, could have up to 150 crewmembers or more for just one simple scene. Most of his films are feature length and some have even been signed with Columbia Pictures, the Movie Channel, HBO, Showtime and Tri-Star Pictures.

“I’d like to tell you I’m independent because I want my independence, but I am independent because Hollywood isn’t giving me a job,” he said, while laughing.

Carpenter is a huge fan of Sergio Leone and 1970s action movies, though he often emulates and homages Martin Scorsese. He said his movies are violent to add to the grittiness and give the audience something they can’t get in mainstream Hollywood films.

“Hollywood wants everyone to see it, not an R-rated movie, but being independent I can make those gritty R-rated movies,” he said. “I want down-and-dirty movies that give the audience something their not going to get from Hollywood.”

About eight months ago, Carpenter began writing the dark “Charlie Mantle” script with co-writer and executive producer Edward Wahl.

“Eddie is a Nassau County police officer, a real-life street cop, that brought the grittiness and realism to the movie,” he said. “He wrote 60 percent and I wrote about 40 percent, but really without him, the movie wouldn’t have been possible.”

 “Charlie Mantle” is packed with A-list actors including Robert Funaro from “The Sopranos” and film and television star Armand Assante of “Judge Dredd.” It also features Jackie Martling, Howard Stern’s former sidekick, Robert Clohessy and a cameo from Sean Young from “Blade Runner.”

“I need to meet with all my star actors and within 15 minutes I knew [Funaro] was the guy,” he said. “All the casting was perfect for this film. You want to get quality out of your movies and the acting in ‘Charlie Mantle’ was phenomenal.”

Carpenter attributes his success to never being married. He said being single allowed him to afford the ups and downs of money in the moviemaking business without having to worry about getting a “stable” job. “I realize my life is passing me by and I accepted the fact that I am dying an old man, but I am having fun getting there,” he joked.

Carpenter said he was happy to win the Audience Favorite award at one of the top ten film festivals in the country. 

After eight months in the making, the movie recently reached the final editing stage and Carpenter anticipates completion sometime in August.

“Charlie Mantle” will be shown to a private audience of cast and crew sometime in September and to a public audience soon after. It will play in Bellmore’s single screen theatre, which seats 400. Visit “Charlie Mantle” on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CharieMantlethemovie for upcoming show times.