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Local Filmmaker Shows Work at the Jacob Burns

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Known best for his direction of the film “Yonkers Joe” with Somers resident Chazz Palmentieri, Rob Celestino’s newest work “Leave” is fresh off screenings at the Cannes Film Festival and headed for the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville Thursday.

“There is only one theme – and I have to be respectful to the film and not give it away,” said Celestino, who lives in Yonkers. “But I do believe you must let go of your false beliefs before you can look into your heart – and discover what you’re capable of.”

“Leave,” a thriller that premiered May 3 in the Waterfront Film Festival in Michigan, in Newport Beach, California and then went on to Cannes and Tribeca June 25 before coming to Jacob Burns.

The film is about a successful novelist who is haunted by a terrifying dream that follows a recent trauma. The subject finds that the only way to understand the dream is to “write it through” in his new novel, a thriller, at a remote location. There he encounters more than he expected.

Celestino, like all good storytellers, does not reveal too much of the film’s storyline so viewers can enjoy the full impact of seeing it live.

“I want people to be blown away when they see the film,” Celestino said. “I want them to forget they’re watching a movie, but even more, I want the film to create an experience that stays with them. One of the best compliments I can receive is when somebody tells me they know someone just like the character in the film because that usually means they related to the character and the story on a visceral level.”

The Waterfront Film Festival Review said the film "is built on surprise after surprise... it plays with your perceptions. Between the creepy script, the great performances and the ominous direction, it’s really a fine piece of work that gets into your head. By the end, it all comes together elegantly.”

For more on “Leave” check out the Facebook page and

Michael Hagerty and Bettina Tendler-O’Mara are the producers with Frank John Hughes, the screenwriter. Rick Gomez and Hughes wrote the story.

Do you have dreams of writing a screenplay? Tell us about it in the comments section, or on Facebook.

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