After all these years


I’m looking forward to the Big Eddy Film Fest next weekend. 

Most specifically, I’m looking forward to being in the former Narrowsburg Central School Gym with my community. Together, we will watch the documentary of a piece of our lives some 20 years ago.

It is the story of the Narrowsburg International Film Festival.

It is a story of how a charismatic "bad boy" charmed a community. For at least a year—before we all woke up to understand that the charm was actually a con.

Richie Castellano was larger than life.  He arrived in town boasting of his role in “Analyze This,” and of his dear friend Robert DeNiro. He started an acting school. He was helping to produce the first annual Narrowsburg International Film Festival. He was shooting a movie. He was bringing his gangster actor friends to Narrowsburg and hanging out, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. 

It was great. It was a hoax. 

Being on Main Street was like being in a movie when Richie came to town.

If you were at the diner on a particular morning, you might be treated to a free breakfast.  What you didn’t know is that it was on the proprietor's  tab and not actually Richie’s.

It was flim flam.

It was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.  Or not to pay Paul, as the case may be.  

And many of us actually didn’t talk about how we were being swindled. How bills went unpaid. How the promise of something had to be payment enough. 

But now, some 20 years later, through a documentary called “Narrowsburg,” Richie is making good on his promise of putting us in the movies. Of course, it has nothing to do with Richie. Director Martha Shane, her crew, her financial backers and advisors, are the ones responsible.

Interestingly enough, Richie created the story.  So I guess, in the end, this larger-than-life bad boy did, sort of, come through on his promise.

The best part of it is that we get to revisit this crazy time, together, on Friday night, September 20 in the Narrowsburg gym.  

Can't wait!


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