by Terry Rogers
“Delaware Shore,” a movie filmed in the Milford area, is scheduled for theatrical release in Los Angeles on December 21 and New York on December 28. The movie tells the story of a Holocaust survivor, Agnes, who lives in Slaughter Beach.
“The movie is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Michaelangelo Rodriguez who lives in New Castle now,” Raghav Peri, who wrote, produced and directed the film, said. “The novel itself is set in Delaware and the Washington DC area. At the premiere of my previous indie film “Bar Study,” I met Michaelangelo Rodriguez, a writer and executive producer. At the time, he had just finished his book, Delaware Shore, and wanted to convert that into a feature. When I read the book, I loved the original idea of a granny living on the beach with her grandchildren. I saw a lot of potential for the original idea and wanted to follow the characters, although the book went in a different direction. I was hesitant to ask about changing it, but after going through the original material together, we built a good mutual trust. Later, I asked if we could follow the three main characters and tell their story.”
In the story, Agnes is tasked with raising her grandchildren after their parents abandoned them on her doorstep. As they get older, Agnes begins to lose control of the children. Her wartime experiences haunt her and she becomes emotionally abusive to Gallagher and Tasha, her grandchildren. The film was recognized at the Los Angeles Film Awards, the New York Film Awards, Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival, Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, Onioros Film Awards, Accolade Competition and the Festigious International Film Festival.
“Through this movie, I was trying to draw attention to during the Holocaust and connect them with a present day situation,” Peri said. “If you look at any Holocaust movie, they only deal with that period alone. This movie begins where other movies end. I think it is important to look back, learn from what happened before and push the world forward. Apart from the celebration of human spirit and courage, this woman-centric film does touch upon a few serious issues like teen pregnancy, violence and gay identity that are currently omnipresent. It was never a conscious effort to force fit them into the film, I just followed the characters and this flowed naturally into the screenplay.”
The movie was filmed extensively in Slaughter Beach, using a beach house in the community. Some of the beach exteriors were filmed in Rehoboth and Lewes while many of the interiors were shot in apartments and sets built in Newark and New Castle. All coffee shop scenes in the film were shot on Newark’s main street. There are several scenes that feature Milford’s Riverwalk as well. Peri explained that the majority of his “Bar Study” short feature were filmed in the Oddity Bar in Wilmington and there are some scenes in this movie that were filmed there as well.
“Thanks to the owner, Pat, who gave permission for us to film there,” Peri said. “In addition to the locations, many of the characters were portrayed by Delawareans. Gail Wagner who played Agnes, Kevin Austra who played Ron, and Kevin Francis who played Rudolph are all from Delaware. We have an auditorium scene that was filmed at the Delaware Contemporary on the Wilmington Waterfront that has close to 50 extras from the area.”
Peri was born in Hyderabad, India and holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from JNTU in Hyderabad. He moved to the United States with his wife, Deepthi in 2013 and the couple has a son, Elon Peri. Before moving to the United States, Peri made a few short films based on social themes which were well-received in India.
“Delaware Shore is an important and thought-provoking film,” Peri said. “It’s a moving story and we know our audiences will enjoy it when it opens this December. They will surely take home the characters and spirit of the film. I can’t wait for everyone to see this film in theaters.”