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Written and Directed by:
William C. Laufer

A Christmas love story, a romantic drama.

Local film tells story of hope
Thursday, July 21, 2005
The Sun Press

Bill Laufer puts it simply.

That old saw about writing what you know applies here, he said.

What Laufer knows is that greater Cleveland is gorgeous.

So, the debut feature film from the company he runs with his daughter Tiffany features shots of downtown Chagrin Falls, a home on East Washington Street there, the former Varietals Wine Bar in the Cedar Fairmount District of Cleveland Heights, the Mad Greek and Roth's Cedar-Fairmount Pharmacy, both in the Heights, and Vintage Wine Distributor in Solon.

I love Cleveland for many, many reasons...I want people to understand the beauty of the area we live in, Laufer of Cleveland Heights said.

The first feature film of Laufer Films is Christmas at Maxwell's, which will have a sneak preview screening for people involved with the project today in Lakeside, near Marblehead, Ohio.

The film will show at Cleveland Cinemas beginning in October, with national distribution set for the Christmas season, 2006.

The second thing that Laufer knows is that people can find faith in the most trying of times.

Christmas at Maxwell's tells the story of a fortysomething man struggling to answer questions about his wife's illness. Laufer said the movie was about human struggle, forgiveness, trust and the power of love.

The story has its roots in Laufer's mother's battle with cancer. She was diagnosed at the age of 48 and given six weeks to live, but she fought the disease for 16 years.

Laufer was a teenager when his mother was diagnosed.

How do you live when someone's supposed to die in six weeks? Laufer said.

That experience would form the basis for Christmas at Maxwell's, a script Laufer wrote while a student at Georgetown University.

Laufer worked in manufacturing for most of his professional career, but he has been a writer at heart the whole time.

In fact, Laufer Film has four projects in the works, and two of them were penned by Laufer, musical scripts he wrote in college that he is now reworking. One he described as Chicago-esque.

Part of the reason he started the film company was to work with his daughter, a graduate of Georgetown and the American Film Institute who now lives in Los Angeles.

It's been just incredible, he said of working with his daughter. He said they keep their relationship professional on set _ she calls him Bill not Dad _ and that many people on the project did not even know they were father and daughter. But he relishes the opportunity to combine their creativity.

He takes director credits on Christmas at Maxwell's. She was the movie's director of photography.

Local actors include Andrew May of Cleveland Heights and Jack Hourigan of Moreland Hills.

Laufer Film has produced movies for local schools and for Young Audiences of Greater Cleveland.

Laufer said part of the goal of Laufer Film was to make movies with a positive message.

There's so many things out there that are difficult today. But the majority of people have positive lives. There are miracles every day, he said. I want to lift people up.

Laufer said Christmas at Maxwell's featured the red, gold, green and white colors of Christmas but that it's message applied to all seasons.

I want people to walk out thinking there is hope, he said.

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