Morgan Stipe (Jeremy Banks) is desperate to escape his small-town Rhode Island roots and make it big in Hollywood, so he launches his own production company. To get things kick-started, he hosts a fundraising rollout party and invites his semi-famous friend, Jake Mattison (Robert Merrifield), as networking bait for a motley cast of forty-two actors, screenwriters, artists, choreographers, newspaper reporters, and other assorted wannabes. Egos clash, ambitions are dampened, secrets are revealed, feelings are hurt.
The party, and the filming, took place in the basement of director Christian de Rezendes' apartment at 409 North Main Street in Slatersville between 6:45 and 9:18pm on November 17, 2001. Filming was almost continuous, with only two breaks to reload the video camera. While backstory, basic character traits, and motivations were supplied to some of the actors, there was no script, and participants were left to improvise, in character, for the full two-and-a-half hour shoot.
Although almost the whole film takes place inside an apartment (with a few forays outdoors), Rhode Island permeates the movie. A Code of Ethics poster is prominent on one wall, as is one advertising "Blackstone Valley, Rhode Island." There are two video screens running during the party, one of which is showing something called, Road Movie RI. de Rezendes and actor John Dolber created this video especially for the movie on September 10, 2001, just driving randomly around Rhode Island's back roads with a video camera. The reporter who keeps interviewing party guests is from the Woonsocket Call. The bartender's table is dressed with a Newort Storm beer banner. And of course a great deal of the party talk has to do with being a filmmaker in Rhode Island and the state's standing as "Hollywood of the East."
We learned from one of the DVD's extra features that, in the scene where Quinley Blais (Ken Spassione) threatens to call 911, the actor meant to dial 411, but in the heat of the moment he accidentally dialed the real emergency number. The Rhode Island State Police showed up very soon afterward. Fortunately, the film shoot was completed when they arrived, and apparently no-one was charged.
Getting Out of Rhode Island premiered April 9, 2003, at the Castle Cinema in Providence, then went on to win Best of the Fest at the Black Point Film Festival.
Oh, and if you plan to view this movie, we advise taking some kind of motion sickness preventative beforehand.
In November 2023, Rezendes posted the whole movie to Vimeo.