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‘Mothballs’: The World of Antique and Collectibles on the Silver Screen

by Tom Carrier (01/22/09).

By Tom Carrier
WorthPoint Worthologist

Talk about life imitating art, or art imitating work, Dan Borsey was able to talk with film director and screenwriter Chris McCallion about his newest feature film, ‘Mothballs,’ depicting the glamorous and wondrous dealings of antique and collectibles dealers at Brimfield, Mass..

“I wanted to make an independent film, so I thought a great way of making the money to finance an independent film was to buy and sell antiques. So, I started buying and selling antiques and I said, hey, wait a minute, this could be a film in itself,” McCallion remembers. “I made this independent film about these two guys who decide to go into the antique business and they go to Brimfield. I shot multiple days here (in Brimfield) with my full cast. Then I also shot on my property. I set up 18 tents to make it look like Brimfield,” McCallion says.

There are quite a few characters in this full-length comedy that all antique dealers must deal with at one time or another. You know, the highly charged and fussy customer who is particularly looking for a bargain below the normal bargain and is willing to put the dealer through the ringer to get it. “I’m waiting,” he says with a singsong sigh and an expectant look, not being particularly subtle about it.

Another character may sound familiar, too, but he is the dealer who is rather succinct on how he prices items at his booth, “Always look at their shoes,” the character says. “That’ll tell you what the people are and what they’re going to buy. If they have nice leather shoes on I put the price up a bit, but if they got a poor set of shoes on, then I don’t charge them quite as much, but I sell them a whole lot of dollar stuff.” There is also a roving magic kangaroo that either you see or you don’t, and the odyssey of how one antique item changes hands many times throughout the film.

Sometimes, people come from all over to Brimfield, sometimes it’s from around the world and sometimes from outer space, or sometimes even from over the rainbow, according to a podcast done with McCallion.

The film premiered in January 2008 at the Southern Fried Flicks in Augusta, Georgia, where it took second place, and at the Trail Dance film festival in Oklahoma, where it won best featured comedy. The film has also been featured in Toronto, San Francisco and other film festivals across the country. In 2009, the film will return to Brimfield for its 50th Anniversary celebration for the dealers and the collectors to see it again.

While this comedy is a work of fiction, I can’t help thinking that it hits pretty close to home. I also can’t help but wonder if I can recognize anyone in it. I’ll see you at the movies when “Mothballs” comes to Brimfield. You bring the popcorn and I’ll bring other movie memorabilia to sell or trade.

Watch a video with Dan Borsey talking to Chris McCallion about “Mothballs” here.

Tom Carrier is a general Worthologist, with an expertise in a wide variety of subjects.

WorthPoint: Get the Most from Your Antiques & Collectibles.

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