Cody Blue Snider toured the country with his short film All That Remains, winning awards at multiple festivals before coming home to a packed screening at the Stony Brook Film Festival on Wednesday night.
The 20-minute film was shot predominantly in Three Village and Port Jefferson, including scenes at Ward Melville High School and Mather Hospital. Snider, now 21, made the movie when he was 19 years old using a script he wrote at age 18, which was based on a graphic novel manuscript his older brother Jesse had written.
"I’m 19 and I’m making a multi-period piece, a World War II epic that nobody told me I could make," Snider said. "Everybody told me I was crazy, which I was. If I could go back and tell myself, I’d be like 'Do something else.'"
All That Remains is about a World War II veteran who suffers from dementia, but falls in love with an orderly who shows him kindness. He thinks she is his true love, who died years ago, so he makes a deal with Death in order to protect her. Relying on flashbacks of the old man's youth combined with parallels to his old age, the film leaves open to interpretation which parts are supposed to represent actual events and which parts are delusions of the man's fragile mind.
The film screened to a packed Staller Center audience for what was its New York premiere Wednesday night. Snider, a 2008 graduate of and a former member of the Ward Melville Players, said it is nearing the end of its life on the film festival circuit. It has collected awards like "Best Film" and "Best Director" at the DIY Film Festival, "Fan Favorite" at the Black Bear Film Festival, an Award of Excellence at the Canada International Film Festival, a "Best of Fest" award and others.
Snider, the younger son of Twisted Sister rocker, filmmaker and reality TV star Dee Snider, kept it in the family while making the film. His father produced the film, played the role of Death, and helped him secure music rights from Icelandic band Sigur Rós; his mother, Suzette, did the hair and makeup for the film; and brother Jesse helped with set design as the film's associate producer.
Dee Snider said Cody's career as a filmmaker has been a long time coming – and that this is only the beginning.
"I have known that Cody had a career in film before he knew he had a a career in film. He was this precocious little boy who just saw so much more into every movie," the elder Snider said after the screening. "We'd go see Home Alone and everyone would be saying, 'Oh that was great when the guy got hit with the iron. And he'd be going, 'Dad, it was the old man representing the boy and he was lonely.' He was talking about the story within the story without even knowing it. ... I said this kid is going to be a movie maker."