Gina is the Genius behind Live at the Clock Tower
by Cate Murway
The historic Grundy Commons, a former woolen spinning mill, has not become a soulless apartment block. The 925 Canal Street buildings are the perfect spot for live music, comedy, and poetry at the Fugue Films Studio!
The complex is home to dozens of nationally and internationally recognized artists and artisans. New life had been breathed into this complex when it was converted to multi-use spaces and now some of them have been transformed to an artistic haven for the creatives to work and experiment. The Grundy Commons complex offers a plethora of studios, an area art gallery and a primarily historically preserved cobblestone courtyard.
Fugue Films partner and Borough resident, Gina Marie Andreoli is an extremely talented independent filmmaker and her driven focus is geared mostly on directing, producing and costume design. Gina creates the look of each character by designing clothes and accessories the actors will wear in performance, faithfully reflecting the personalities of the characters in the script.
If the production is set in a specific historical era, the fashions of this period will need to be researched and Gina can professionally create vintage style dresses.
She is aware and sensitive to the highest sense of her environment, even when fantasy and reality can sometimes become intermingled, hence the “Fugue Films”.
The musical term “Fugue” is a compositional technique and the word itself can mean a state of confusion, a dreamlike state.
Gina opened up her beautiful 2,500 sq. foot daylight photography studio in the Grundy Commons over a year ago.
“I love the light. It’s just such a great space and plenty of light to sew.”
The studio is complete with professional lighting, backdrop, kitchen, lounge, bathrooms and a private screening room.
Creativity has apparently been woven into the family fiber as Gina has become intuitive, an idealist and a dreamer.
Gina’s parents, Bruno and Theresa moved from where they were raised in Philadelphia to Buckingham. Her late father owned a knife sharpening business, offering a useful service to a broad spectrum of customers. He was also a building contractor.
They provided Gina and her three siblings, Bruna, Tara and Lance, a life in a very rural area.
“I love Bucks County!”
The firstborn, Bruna, oil paints landscape backgrounds and figures and Dr. Tara, Psy.D., practices psychology in California.
Both Tara and Gina were participants in the drama department at Central Bucks East High School in Buckingham. Gina was President of the Drama Club.
As a Senior in High School, she directed a one act play, “Plaza Suite”, one of the biggest hits from Broadway's most popular playwright, Neil Simon.
Earlier creative attemps included trying to play a woodwind instrument, the clarinet. She participated in the Girl Scouts for one year and even played one season of field hockey.
“We had to learn to entertain ourselves. We lived in the country.”
Gina met her future husband, Art major, Joseph Stanley Shifflett, while pursuing a Theatre Performance major at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
They married and resided in Virginia before relocating to NYC, where they “really used the city to educate ourselves in the arts”.
Her hobbies include sketching, abstract painting and fashion design.
Art is not only something that can be viewed and appreciated by all, but it serves as a vessel through which growth, stability and great change can occur in other aspects of the surrounding areas.
“I'm opening a studio in my home town [of] Bristol because I like to work on my own and do my own projects.” Gina’s story is a prime example of how following your heart can pay off. It was a leap of faith to retire early from her previous teaching job in English Theatre and Film Studies at Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown.
All you need to do is take that leap.
Her eclectic theater background includes studying Greek tragedy at the University of Richmond, a national Shakespeare touring company and Gothic drama on the Lower East Side. She has trained at American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the prestigious Shakespeare and Company for which she received a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Her studio is a functioning video production space and photography studio with backdrops, including greenscreen, professional lighting equipment, and cameras. It functions as an educational space and a creative workshop.
Gina’s contractor husband, Joe, who also works in ornamental plaster design, and Tom Marston, the father of her Fugue Film partner, Christopher Marston who was originally a student of Gina’s in HST, built the vintage 70’s-look stage that makes an immediate and powerful visual statement to the audience. This sets an incredible stage in her perfect artsy haven in the heart of historic Bristol on the Delaware.
She and her business partner, Chris have shot and produced several commercials for small businesses and have even collaborated work with Jay Grosse’s 1021 Studios, located right downstairs from their Fugue Films in the Grundy Commons.
Last Saturday night, they presented what is apparently becoming a tradition of informal presentations, this one a fundraiser for a favorite local comedy improv group, Deleted Scenes. Deleted Scenes recently won First Place at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals of the National College Improv Tournament at the Shakespeare Theatre in Philadelphia, the first time a community college won a regional contest in the five-year history of the Chicago Improv Festival’s competition.
The host, Bucks County Community College adjunct professor of “Professional Improvisational Performance”, William Patrick “Bill” McLaughlin and his students also commanded the stage. One of the performers was his aspiring veterinarian daughter, Madeline Janis “Maddie” McLaughlin, a Morrisville High School student.
They enthalled the audience with succinct humor, achieved entirely through a light-hearted, fun, witty exchange of dialogues and gentle irony with many great crisp exchanges.
Bill and Gina originally met when Gina took his improv class in Manhattan in the upper westside YMCA.
“This building is great. It’s amazing how they have reinvented the space. People would die for space like this in NYC,” Bill commented.
So what does it have that other buildings do not have? Space. The 19th-century complex, with its hundreds of windows and impressive clock tower….beautiful, beautiful space.
The studio has a separate screening room and is available to rent for a reasonable cost for video producers and photographers. It is also a space for conducting classes in acting, photography and video production and also functions as a creative workshop space for emerging artists. It is perfect for live music, comedy and poetry.
Live at the Clock Tower is quickly gaining in status as a cultural and artistic niche.
Another venture, Gemini Rising, a period piece, the popular web series about a progressive rock band from the 70's, is a collaboration between Gina as director and production designer and Chris, as cinematographer and editor.
Her nephew, Charles “Charlie” Radcliffe is in the cast and this marks his film and acting debut.
Their originality was recognized in 2009 when Gemini Rising received a Webby Honoree award.
Filmmaking encompasses a myriad of assorted disciplines and that is a very exciting challenge but Gina missed the classroom.
Gina is setting a new stage at Villa Joseph Marie in Holland, PA, a private Catholic college-preparatory school for young women. Her classes include English and Fine Arts and the Aesthetics of Film which includes Film History and Criticism, Literature as Film, and Film Creation. Gina also very successfully directed and costumed the VJM show, “The Women”, a 1936 play by Clare Boothe Luce, this past Fall.
“I have never worked with such nice people in my life and the students are a joy.”
The studio is a perfect location for photography services for head shots, portraits, bands, and art photography.
“I wish to network with film and photograph people from the area."
Hire Fugue Films for your next video project.
Professional, high quality and reasonable rates. What’s not to like?
The Grundy Commons
925 Canal Street
Bristol, PA 19007