PARSIPPANY — Parsippany filmmaker Bob Messinger received multiple film and script awards at last week’s annual AOF Megafest. The weeklong, Las Vegas-based film festival combines 13 niche events in a single Megafest.
Messinger’s most recent project, a one-hour documentary about the emotional impact of COVID-19 and quarantine, won three awards, including best documentary at two of the events and best documentary editing in another. The film was also nominated for best overall film editing at AOF.
Titled “LOCKDOWN: The Emotional Impact of COVID-19 and Quarantine,” the film delves into the short- and long-term psychological consequences of the pandemic and resulting shelter-in-place orders.
“According to the Well Being Trust, an additional 75,000 people could die due to what they call coronavirus despair,” says Messinger. He believes that the emotional impact on individuals and families is an exceptionally under-reported aspect of the pandemic.
The film includes interviews with noted mental health professionals such as nationally recognized psychophysiology expert and TED speaker Dr. Kim Gorgens; president of the Eastern Psychological Association Dr. Amy Learmonth; and a host of people weathering the crisis.
Backed by an abundance of documented research and interviews, the film explores the categories of people who are most apt to be affected emotionally by the pandemic and quarantine. Not only does the film chronicle the anticipated emotional effects of the crisis, but it also provides professional recommendations on how to handle the resulting anxiety.
Messinger researched, wrote, and produced the film from his home office in the Lake Hiawatha section of Parsippany while in quarantine, conducting interviews over Zoom. The film has been screened at numerous festivals worldwide, including the Garden State Film Festival in March.
Screenplay and video wins
Messinger’s short scripts, “Tiger Mom” and “Another Time, Another Place,” also took top honors in two Megafest screenwriting events.
“Tiger Mom” is the story of a mother and troubled teenage daughter who find a common bond during a hostage situation in a small-town comic book store, and it is scheduled to go into production later this year.
“Another Time, Another Place” is a political thriller in which past and present collide in the world of a young White House staffer. In his acceptance speech, Messinger described the script as a “cautionary tale of what almost came to pass on January 6.” The script was named “From the Heart Productions’ Hot Films in the Making List for 2020.”
Messinger’s music video, “Hey You,” also won the best music video award in another Megafest event. Written and performed by Lake Hopatcong singer-songwriter Jenni Spiro, the tune is the closing song in another Messinger film, “Over the Line,” which is currently completing its festival run.
About the AOF Megafest
Now in its seventeenth year, the AOF Megafest has evolved into a weeklong festival of top-quality, independent films encompassing 13 different niches, including action, news, traditional Hollywood film, conquering disabilities, stunts, social and political impact, inspirational and new themes, international storytelling, inspirational stories, young storytellers and more.
The event has attracted personalities such as Daniel Baldwin (one of this year’s winners), Talia Shire, Mark Ruffalo, Ron Perlman, Michael Paré, and others.
Locally produced films
In addition to his own projects with his production company, Where’s the Lake Productions, Messinger collaborates with other companies and producers. He currently serves as associate producer on director Cedric Hill’s feature, “Two Peas in a Pod.”
Most of Messinger’s work is shot in the Parsippany area. In fact, his short film, “Over the Line,” was shot entirely in his Lake Hiawatha home using green-screen technology, which was later transformed into an abandoned warehouse setting using computer-generated technology.
Where’s the Lake Productions got its name from Messinger’s location in Parsippany.
“People are always stopping to ask us where the lake is,” says Messinger.
There is no lake in Lake Hiawatha.