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Flushing filmmaker debuts film in Manhattan

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Flirting with 400 pounds, Carmine Famiglietti decided he had to lose weight.

But the 29-year-old Flushing resident did not turn to Richard Simmons or pills. Instead, he started to make a movie.

“When I felt I was mentally ready to do it, I wanted to do a project around it,” said Famiglietti. “I had a cousin who was actually a pretty bad drug addict and got himself clean by going to a trailer in upstate New York. So I wrote a film about this guy who buys this completely dilapidated trailer and turns his life around.”

Although incomplete, Famiglietti’s film has already garnered honors. Scenes from the feature-length movie, titled “LBS,” will be shown at the Independent Feature Project’s film festival in Manhattan this week under the new category of “Works in Progress.”

Famiglietti stars as Neil, an overweight Queens bus driver who nearly dies from a heart attack. After ruining his sister’s wedding, Neil heads upstate with his drug addicted friend, Sacco, played by Michael Aranov, where the two try to kick their habits together in an isolated trailer.

Miriam Shor plays the owner of an upstate diner who befriends Neil. Both Aranov and Shor had roles in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

The movie is shot with a Super 16 film camera and directed by Brooklyn-native Matthew Bonafacio. Bonafacio and Famiglietti met as extras on the set of Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X.” The two call their company the Brooklyn Queens Experiment, or BQE.

Famiglietti already has had some success as an entertainer. He and two friends, Joseph Summa and Gino Cafarelli, wrote “How You Doin, Yankees?” and “Twelve Days of Guido Christmas,” two songs which became radio hits in the late ‘90s. This past summer, Famiglietti hosted a show on 103.5 WKTU.

But “LBS” is a more emotional project for Famiglietti than his past work. As his character loses weight, so does he, dropping 125 pounds over the course of the film.

“The movie without a doubt completely changed my life,” Famiglietti said.

The actor recalled his recent trip to the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy.

“People there hadn’t seen me in two years,” he said. “They did not know who I was. People were reintroducing themselves.”

Bonafacio plans to shoot the remainder of the film in the upcoming spring. “LBS” will be released at the end of 2003 or beginning of 2004.

Famiglietti credited simple discipline for helping him drop the pounds.

“I stopped drinking soda, never ate after 6 p.m.,” he said. “There’s no real secrets.”

Just as he was confident that he would be able to lose the weight for the role, Famiglietti is optimistic about the film’s success.

“You have 108 million overweight people in the country,” he said. “Kids are getting heavier everyday. I think [the producers] see the potential for the film.”

Whether or not the film makes a lot of money, Famiglietti said he has committed himself to entertainment.

“I would be happy doing anything in any facet of the business,” he said. “If I can do it as an actor, great, a writer, great. Even as a producer.”

“LBS” will be shown in part at the Angelika Theater Monday at 12:15 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 3, at 11:45 a.m. The theater is located in Manhattan at 18 W. Houston St.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.

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