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Maplewood filmmaker creates short film about grief, extremism in Milledgeville, Georgia


Chris Danuser’s script for “Mayflower” was never meant to be read by anyone, let alone turned into a short film.

“I wanted to adapt a short story into a screenplay just for me, never to be seen by anyone,” the Maplewood-based writer and co-director said in a phone interview with the News-Record on Dec. 5. “Then I thought, ‘OK, maybe people should read it.’ The script won a couple of awards, and I started thinking I should make it.”

Danuser’s first foray into directing, “Mayflower” tells the story of a man whose son, a member of the military, was killed in Afghanistan. The man, Richard Mayflower, now cares for his young granddaughter. In his grief, Mayflower decides to bomb a mosque. The film shows how Mayflower comes to this decision, and the outcome.

“We’re showing the choices people make to commit mass murder,” Danuser said. “We’re not giving it a thumbs-up, but showing what leads to someone doing something so heinous.”

He wrote the script five years ago, and built a cast and crew to bring the project to life. The film is co-directed by Casey Clark and stars David Triacca as Richard Mayflower, Stephanie Kurtzuba as a character named Tammy, and Sofia Salas as Mayflower’s granddaughter Ricki. To capture the Southern Gothic feel that Danuser was aiming for, “Mayflower” was filmed in his hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia.

“It’s an incredible place to build stories,” he said about the town of 17,715. “There’s a lot of darkness, but at the same time a lot of positive people. The south is a beautiful place to shoot. We didn’t need a lot of art direction, it’s just there.”

It’s also become easier to film in Georgia, as the state has become a popular filming location outside the usual Hollywood towns of Los Angeles and New York. See more at Essex News Daily.


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