By Ariana Puzzo
When we featured Paige Sciarrino (CHS ’11) in our Oct. 2016 issue, she discussed her first short film, Rolling. At the time, she told us her film was accepted into five film festivals. Today, Sciarrino continues to pursue her passion as she works on her second film, The Blue Light Stays On, which draws on Sciarrino’s real life experiences. “My day job is working in the cemetery, so it’s a story centered around a young girl working in one,” she said. “I always wanted to write something about that experience because I feel like it’s such a unique thing and many are shocked when I tell them.” Pre-production began about nine months ago. However, Sciarrino knew she wanted to shoot the film in the summer. “I wanted the film to feel bright and happy,” she explained. “I’m interested in that juxtaposition with the sad experience.” The plot focuses on another girl who visits the cemetery to purchase a grave for her deceased brother. The summer’s brightness, Sciarrino said, makes it “so when the film starts, you don’t know what you are in for.” Similar to her first film, Sciarrino is starring in the new project. Her decision is based on the fact that she is an actor first. “At this point in my young, budding career,” she laughed, “I feel like putting both my filmmaking and acting together as much as possible is smart.”
October 2018 • Cliftonmagazine.com
Another similarity is her film is being shot locally again. While Rolling was shot at Richfield Farms, The Blue Light Stays On was shot at East Ridgelawn Cemetery at 255 Main Ave. Sciarrino added that the film takes place in the cemetery office, but there are also moments where more of the cemetery is shown. Although she had the film’s concept for a couple of years, her foray into filmmaking was not planned. Sciarrino graduated from Montclair State University in 2015. While at MSU, she worked with Montclair film students. “I went to college for acting,” she said. “I’ve always known I wanted to be an actor; that’s always kind of been a constant in my life.” Therefore, Sciarrino considers her transition into filmmaking to be accidental. “The director and writer of a project that I did with them,” she said, “told me he liked what I had to say and wrote me a role in his next film. “He asked me to be the assistant director and it was a feature film, so there were 16 shoot dates and I was thrown into that.” Sciarrino then realized she would need to be able to do a little of everything for one simple reason. “I started writing because the industry is so difficult and hard to break into, you make your own work these days.