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A New Film by Victoria Bugbee


Our Indiegogo Campaign raised much needed capital for production.  Our cast and crew were fantastic.  Thanks everyone for your generous support.  If you missed the video of the cast and B-Roll you can watch the video here.  We are so close to finishing the film so look for another fundraiser for sound design and color correction.

NEWS FLASH: Victoria Bugbee, co-writer, director and producer of the feature film “Out of State-A Gothic Romance” is pleased to announce that K.A. Miille has finished editing “Out of State-A Gothic Romance.” Kim has edited “Marian Anderson:In Her Own Words” for American Masters, the first episode of Ken Burns “Mohammed Ali,”I Promise” for Mark Levine and LeBron James, and the feature “Premium” with Zoe Saldana.

“I became acquainted with Kim while working at B Productions NYC on image pieces and fashion videos. Kim has a great sense of storytelling.  She was able to make sense of action that spans 6 months from the dead of winter to the heat of summer with over 100 scenes shot out of order. Having worked together on various projects we shared a similar eye and sense of humor – important when making an indie arthouse film.”

Logline: ELSA, 18, is a high school senior when she is sent to live with her strange out of state step-relatives, MARCIA GARTH and her 20 something sons, TAB and EMERY.   Tab is a gifted pianist and Emery restores antiques to bring in money for the family.  Both suffer from Stockholm Syndrome since they are forbidden to leave the house.  Both Emery and Tab fall madly in love with Elsa vying for her attention. This shatters Marcia’s control of her “boys.”  Who will leave and run away with their bohemian cousin?  Stay tuned and find out.

Think “My Cousin Rachel” meets “The Royal Tenebaums,” dark with a sense of humor.  The Gothic Romance is set in the 1990’s  a small town in Pennsylvania and was written by award winning playwright Victoria Bugbee and her distant cousin, the late Charles Bugbee.  In 1993 Charlie’s first film “Just Off The Coast” had won best first feature at San Sebastian Film Festival.  Vicky had just finished writing, directing and producing “A Surreal Soap Opera” at Lincoln Center Out of Doors.  The cousins joined talents and decided to write “Out of State.”

“Shortly after completing the screenplay,” said Bugbee,  “Charlie was taken ill and passed away.  Many years later,with permission of Charlie Bugbee’s family, we are making the film in his honor.  This is For Charlie!”

Cherie Fortis (Saturday Night Live) Produced the film with Bugbee. Ilya Shnitser was Director of Photography. The indie stars Sarah Moliski as Elsa, Caroline Winterson as Marcia Garth, James Nester (Heroes of Dirt – The BMX Movie)  as Tab Garth, Avery Ryder Turner as Emery Garth, Tess Warren as Becky, Matthew Brueckner as Roy, Lynne Goldberg as Ms. Heller,  Dave Shaeffler as The Baker, Peter H Bugbee as The Chauffeur, Paola Tawa as Mrs. Thurmond, Nick Tarricone, Deanna Gondek and Lyhia Tawa,  Paolo Tawa and Oden Tawa Diaz as recital guests.

Casting The Film

I’m constantly asked how I cast the film.  I turned to professional actors that I worked with and novices.I ran into Sarah Moliski on a beauty commercial to test the Sony F55 camera that B Productions and Daniel Marracino produced and directed.  With her green eyes and mane of chestnut hair she looked the part of our heroine ELSA. I was thrilled when she told me she was studying acting and would love to read for the part.

James Nester was in my nephew Eric Bugbee’s film “Heroes of Dirt – The BMX Movie.”  He played a deranged drug dealer.  At the premier of the indie movie, he looked like an angel in his black tux.  Like TAB, he played piano and was signed.

Caroline Winterson and I knew each other from our kids’ school.  She was The Narrator in my play “The Gas Station Project.,” that we staged in Overseas Auto Body Shop.  Her velvet voice, her work as an award winning book orator and her presence matched the character of MARCIA.

I’ve known Avery Ryder Turner since he was 5. He is now a professional dancer.  Cherie Fortis, who produced  Out of State with me, recommended her son Ryder for the role of EMERY.  He came by the house one cold spring day for a screen test.  Ryder embodied the quietness that is in stark contrast to James Nester’s over the top TAB.

Lynne Goldberg who plays the antique dealer MS. HELLER and starred in my play “A Surreal Soap Opera – Toxic Waste Meets Beach Resort” at Lincoln Center.  A stage and television actress, she is a powerhouse with the most amazing blue eyes that are almost unearthly.

I had seen Tess Warren acting in a number of plays in high school.  The part of BECKY, Elsa’s best friend went to her who by the way was my Production Assistant and my daughter.  Matthew Brueckner, Tess’s boyfriend, plays ROY the high school photographer.  He had worked on a number of films both in front of the camera and as crew in college and offered a deadpan interpretation of his character. He is Assistant Editor of Out of State.

When looking for someone to play THE BAKER I needed an actor who grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.  James Nester recommended Dave Shaeffler whom he had worked with in regional theater.  Dave arrived with Sho-Fly Pies and nailed the part.

My brother Peter Bugbee offered to assistant on the shoot and had a great town car so we enlisted his services as Elsa’s personal driver.  Friends, Paola Tawa, Lyhia and Farid Tawa, Baby Oden, Deanna Gondek and Nick Tarricone were recruited for the recital scene.

Thank you all for realizing Charlie’s and my vision.  You are the coolest cast ever.

Caroline Winterson and James Nester in The Winter Scene

Sarah Moliski in The Dream Sequence

EMERY (Avery Ryder Turner) and ELSA (Sarah Moliski) in The Woodworking Scene  

Ilya Shnitser Director of Photography shot “Out of State A Gothic Romance” with a Canon C300 Mark II cinema camera with Zeiss Lenses.  Both Shnitser and Bugbee have visual arts background and the film is very painterly with lush color and light.  Bugbee chose to shoot the film in her old Victorian home in Hastings-OnHudson, NY (Girl on The Train, The Leftovers, Girls).  Since it was summertime, natural light streamed through the oversize windows and practicals were used for some of the scenes.  Occasionally one Arri light was used to augment the scene.  All outdoor scenes used natural lighting.

“Cinematographers are poets of light,” remarks Bugbee.  “Ilya shoots in a very painterly fashion.  For some of the scenes, I’d say to him, ‘Now you are giving me a Monet painting. or You nailed a Renoir pastel on that one.’ “

The house is a perfect setting for a gothic romance and becomes one of the main characters of the film. It is filled with family heirlooms like the grandfather’s clock made in 1823 by Bugbee’s ancestor Issac Groetz, a clockmaker from Easton, PA.  The piano, a pivotal element in the movie, belonged to Blanche Thomas, Bugbee’s great grandmother’s. The director and cinematographer spent days filming portraits of objects in the house and garden that reenforces the psychological entrapment of the Garths who are bound by their domicile. Both sons suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.  A few scenes had been shot over two winters while the bulk of production was shot in 21 days over the past summer.  Principal photography is done.


The action takes place over six months from the end of December until June.  It was a long hot summer with many days over 90 degrees.  Between mosquitos and the heat the actors wore winter clothes a few too many days.   Costume Designer Kim Druce Sava (Kids, The Sopranos, A League of Their Own) and Bugbee assembled over 50 costumes and looks to serve the script.

Caroline Winterson suggested that her character Marcia Garth dress in purple – a symbol of royalty and power.

Marcia Garth (Caroline Winterson) receives a phone call from her distant brother

Sarah Moliski’s character ELSA lovingly raided her deceased mother’s closet and her wardrobe is a romantic nostalgic collection.  She pairs clothes from the 60’s and 70’s with her signature hair that echoes 60’s icon Julie Christie.  Her colors are pinks, orange and earth tones with a few Betsey Johnson girlie items to kick it up.  The looks accentuate her luminous green eyes, olive skin and dark brown mane.

Sarah Moliski in her Betsey Johnson raincoat
We Love Betsey!

James Nester’s TAB is a dandy and always dressed to impress his piano students and later Elsa.  His signature look is button down shirt, tie, maybe a vest and generally a suit coat.  Tab prefers to take bubble baths when he is not primping in the mirror or donning elegant clothes.

#Setlife Sarah Moliski and James Nester #OutofStateAGothicRomance

Avery Ryder Turner plays EMERY with quiet presences.  As the Cinderella of the family he accepts his place as the laborer and dresses in simple work shirts, pants and boots.  Marcia continually disparages and belittles him.  Towards the end of the film, Emery explodes and unleashes years of pent up anger at his jail matron.

#Setlife Avery Ryder Turner & Sarah Moliski  “Out of State – A Gothic Romance”

“Since all the other characters’ costumes took over the bedroom set aside for wardrobe,” mentions Bugbee,  “Emery’s clothes were thrown in a box in the kitchen.  Ryder Turner who plays Emery surmised that is was fitting for his character to have his few things shoved downstair in the kitchen.  Ryder said, ‘I guess it was one way to get an actor into character.'”

Post Production    

Bugbee’s long time music collaborator Joe Deihl  (Blue Like Jazz) has signed on to write the score and various musicians Grammy nominated Emily King, Kim Kalesti, Amanda Platt and the Honey Cutters, John Mason, Carter McNeill and Skeleton Breath are lending songs to round out the score.  Assistant Editor Matthew Brueckner has assembled a timeline in AVID for editor K.A. Miille. We look forward to finishing Out of State-A Gothic Romance. 

We’ll see you at the film festivals in 2022.

For more information contact:

Victoria Bugbee Productions   [email protected]

Victoria Bugbee Writer Director Producer Photo: Chris Vernale
Marcia and Tab Garth practice Greensleeves
Marcia (Caroline Winterson) and Tab(James Nester) in the Greensleeves scene
 Elsa (Sarah Moliski) is sent away
Emery Garth )Avery Ryder Turner) is smitten with Elsa (Sarah Moliski)
Emery (Avery Ryder Turner) is smitten with Elsa (Sarah Moliski) and defies his mother by cutting her prize flowers



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  39. Thanks Alison but I’m not interested at this time. But tank you for liking OUT OF STATE A GOTHIC ROMANCE we are in post-production now.
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  40. Thanks for liking Out of State A Gothic Romance. We are in the middle of post-production. I checked out your site and couldn’t read the language. What language.
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  41. Got to see Moonlight. Congrats on all the awards and nominations. In today’s divided society we need more films like Moonlight!

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    • Thanks Julie. Glad you liked it. We are in post-production now on OUT OF STATE A GOTHIC ROMANCE. Will keep posting
      Victoria Bugbee

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