Written & Directed by Brittany Rostron
Adapted from the novel Band in the Wind
Written by William John Rostron
For more information on the journey thus far, to read the full, award-winning script, or to learn how to get involved in the film’s further development, please email Brittany Rostron at [email protected].
An alcoholic musician in 1981 confronts his demons and a plastic lawn flamingo by reliving one fateful day 15 years earlier where love, friendship, and a promising future in rock & roll were taken from him in Southeast Queens, NY.
August 9, 1966. The day the thief stole his forever.
The Story (and Book) Behind the Story
Based on a novel. Inspired by actual events. Dedicated to a real flock of stolen plastic flamingos. Read More
While the COVID-19 pandemic tragically took so much, it also gave many the oft-surrendered gift of time. Writer/Director Brittany Rostron seized this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop the short script for Pretty Flamingo with her father, author William John Rostron.
This creative collaboration gave new meaning to the term “personal, passion project” because it is not only based on an excerpt from WJR’s novel, Band in the Wind, but it is also inspired by true events that occurred during William’s courtship with his wife of 50 years (and Brittany’s mother), Marilyn, in what the Rostron family has since dubbed the “Great Flamingo Roundup of 1966”.
However, neither the script nor the novels are autobiographical or nonfiction. (If they were, Brittany would not exist!) Just as the novel deviates from reality (quite significantly), Pretty Flamingo also strays from its source material.
The exhilarating tale of Johnny Cipp, his lost love Maria, and his friends and bandmates of Those Born Free are revealed through a captivating series that spans several novels, of which Pretty Flamingo is a single chapter. To ensure that an adapted short script would feel complete, some creative liberties were taken to rewrite elements of the book, particularly those in the script taking place in 1981. While the details of the plot might differ from the source material, Brittany took extreme care to maintain fidelity to the tone, themes, and the spirits of William’s original characters.
Learn more about the complete works of William John Rostron and dive deeper into the world of Johnny Cipp by visiting bandinthewind.com.
The Award-Winning Script
Pretty Flamingo has achieved significant success on the film festival circuit, receiving honors in 10 film festivals and competitions, including the award for “Best Short Screenplay” at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.
After the success of the short script, Brittany was able to get the pages into the hands of Broadway actor Javier Ignacio. Javier was excited by the material and was soon attached to play John Cippitelli.
The Production (Thus Far)
The film above does not represent the full Pretty Flamingo script. Shot in a single day using a single interior Queens, NY location (and one exterior establishing shot), the film was created as a proof-of-concept (POC) for what the full short film will be once completed, with writer/director Brittany Rostron at the helm.
Rostron’s intention was to successfully convey the tone, look, and feel of the complete film through a handful of its integral scenes, that she then augmented by a combination of personal family photos and stock images to hint at the rest of the story.
Note: Due to the use of authentic photos from the 1966 time period, the photo montage appears in black and white. However, it is Rostron’s intention to shoot these flashback scenes in color, consistent with the existing 1981 scenes.
Though this POC was shot using a shoestring budget, Rostron was determined to achieve the quality necessary to seamlessly incorporate its scenes into the completed film, should it ever be fully produced. Thanks to the determination and generosity of so many friends, colleagues, and local New York City business owners, she was able to create a final product that successfully met this standard.
Rostron hopes to one day have the opportunity to get back behind the camera and finish what she and her father started. It has been an unforgettable experience that has brought them closer together, even as the world was forced to stay six feet apart.
The Original Song
In Band in the Wind, Johnny Cipp’s band, Those Born Free, write and perform original songs. The lyrics for these songs were created using a combination of original lyrics made up by the book’s author, William John Rostron, and old poems written by his daughter (the script’s writer), Brittany Rostron. Read More
The original song “Thief” performed by the character of John Cippitelli (played by Javier Ignacio) in Pretty Flamingo, and performed by Lou Giangrande, Tomas Cataldo, and Frank Enea over the film’s credits, was based on the poem “Thief of Always” that Brittany wrote when she was 15 years old.
While the original lyrics were well-suited for a song sung by teenagers working through their coming-of-age struggles (as depicted in the novel), William and Brittany worked together to revise the lyrics to better express the inner turmoil of an adult coming to terms with his addiction for the first time (as seen in the film).
Once the new lyrics were written, the pair worked with long-time friend and musician Lou Giangrande to flesh out the music. Along with fellow musicians, Tomas Cataldo and Frank Enea, Lou recorded the studio version of “Thief” at Satellite Music Studios in Westchester, NY.
FACES of Diversity
From above to below the line, and from development to postproduction, Pretty Flamingo benefited from the diverse perspectives of various races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and ages. In fact, 75% of the Pretty Flamingo cast and crew are members of one or more underrepresented or marginalized communities within the groups/identities listed above.