QUEENS, NY — “I don’t want to be looked upon as [having] a legacy of ex-mobster, ‘that guy was no good, he hurt people,’ No. Anybody I hurt I never meant it, and I’m sorry if I did. …
QUEENS, NY — “I don’t want to be looked upon as [having] a legacy of ex-mobster, ‘that guy was no good, he hurt people,’ No. Anybody I hurt I never meant it, and I’m sorry if I did. We’re talking about psychologically, mentally. You know, I did punch a few guys in the face, kicked their a** because I was tough with my hands, I was a boxer. But my goal today is to make it, and not to have a bad legacy.”
That’s a line from a 16 minute film on YouTube called “The Streets have no Mercy.” It’s essentially an interview with Richard Castellano put together by his son, Richard Castaldo. Castellano is remembered in this area for creating the Narrowsburg International Independent Film Festival, which caused quite a scandal in 2000 and 2001. Castellano died in Queens on April 5.
At the height of the legal wrangling over the festival and a film being produced in connection with it, Castellano was the subject of about a dozen lawsuits from local residents who invested in the film, and who eventually won their suits in small claims court.
He also faced felony charges of grand larceny and scheme to defraud. He agreed instead to plead guilty to four misdemeanor charges in Sullivan County Court on February 7 in 2001.
Castellano had forfeited the right to a jury trial, and he was sent to the Sullivan County Jail.
It came as a surprise to people in Narrowsburg when it was learned that the movie “Four Deadly Reasons,” featuring Richard Castellano, was not only finished, but it had won an award at a film festival in 2003.
Zac Stuart-Pontier, son of Laurie Stuart, publisher of The River Reporter, had a role in the movie playing Castellano’s son.
Castaldo, Castellano’s real life son, said his father was doing well before his death. He said Castellano was performing stand-up comedy, doing some acting and pursuing some film roles. He said his father realized some mistakes were made regarding the festival, and he had moved on.
Castaldo said his father put his trust in the wrong people, and he especially pointed out Castellano’s former wife, Jocelyn. Castaldo said Jocelyn attempted to start another film festival in Queens, and it turned out as badly as the one in Narrowsburg. Castaldo said Castellano wanted nothing to do with it. Ultimately, Jocelyn was deported to France.
Castellano once had a role in a Robert Di Nero movie “Analyze This,” and had other parts as well. Castaldo said Castellano had allowed some people to use his celebrity in a way that was not good.
“But,” he said, “his intentions were always good.”
[See page 7 for a letter memorializing Castellano.]