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08/16/2016 02:47 PM

Shira Levin Begins Filming of ‘Good Grief’ in Westbrook

If you see the film crews at local landmarks during the first two weeks of September, here’s why: weekend resident Shira Levin’s 12-hour work days start Wednesday, Sept. 7, when she starts filming scenes from her screenplay, Good Grief aka Starfish.

With local filming sites and cameo roles for three of her neighbors, the film will definitely have a local vibe, but the film’s story is a universal one not tied to any one town or location. It’s a timeless tale.

“What inspired me to make the film was my rescue dog and my experience with him. It’s about coping with his dying and how profound an experience that was for me. I wanted also to make a small, character-driven film with strong female roles. This film is also inspired by the relationships between two sisters and in a family,” said Levin.

Levin, the writer-director, wanted to make this film to highlight the bond between a dog and humans and the grief one feels when that close animal companion dies. Woven with this theme is a parallel story about the relationship between two adult sisters, one estranged from the other but brought together again by circumstance and a shared grief about their father’s death three years earlier. Levin says character-driven films with strong roles for mature women are a rarity in film today. (To view a short video about the film and to see profiles of Levin and the professional film team, visit

When considering locations for this film, her eye naturally turned to her weekend hometown of Westbrook, her haven from a busy New York City life where she teaches film at the New York Film Academy. The film’s first scenes will in fact be shot at her Westbrook home starting on Sept. 7. Other scenes will be shot at other shoreline landmarks like Maynard’s Nursery, Beach Donuts, the Westbrook Public Library, and Westbrook’s Middle Beach and West Beach.

Five professional actors have been cast as the film’s main characters. They will be supported by a professional crew of seven, plus the film family team of Shira Levin and her husband Jimmy Kwei. Three Westbrook neighbors of Levin’s and a resident of Madison will play cameo roles in the film. One of those neighbors who will act in the film is a six-year old girl.

The cast and crew need to be fed during the two-week period she will be filming in Connecticut. Levin is hoping that a few folks locally will volunteer to donate sandwiches and drinks to feed the filming team while on location here. Those who donate will be recognized in the film’s credits.

“I’m very grateful for the support I’ve gotten locally already,” said Levin.

Levin said she has raised about half of the $25,000 she needs to complete the filming of Good Grief aka Starfish. And she’ll need even more in order to complete the next phase of bringing the film to festivals, the post-filming processing phase.

Anyone wishing to make a donation of cash or food to support the film can go the film’s website, or send an email to Shira Levin at If interested, Levin can email you a “lookbook” in pdf format she’s developed, that has additional information about the project.