Bittersweet story is basis for Block Island film

Thu, 10/15/2020 - 5:45pm

As movie and television production slowly ramps back up, Block Island received a little bit of the motion picture business recently.

Dusty Noval, a writer and actor, brought a small group of crew and actors to the island to film the exteriors of her Block Island-based film, “Last Girls Trip.”

Noval said she has been coming to the island for years, and the natural beauty of the landscape inspired her enough to set what she described as her “micro-budget feature film” here.

The plot of “Last Girls Trip” revolves around a group of three women who take one last trip with their best friend, who has cancer. But Noval is quick to say that the story is not depressing, but rather focuses on the universal themes of friendship. The story is inspired by real events and people from Noval’s life.

“I have a girlfriend that I’ve been friends with since we were 14. I grew up in Queens, New York. She was living in Texas and she was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread to her bones,” said Noval. “She did not like to talk about it. She was a private person. She wasn’t feeling good but when she moved in with her daughter I knew things were pretty bad. She wouldn’t let me visit.”

But Noval said she made arrangements to get to Texas where she and her friend and Noval’s sister “hung out for four days. We drank a little wine. Ate. We talked about some personal things in the past.”

By then, her friend had decided to “eliminate treatment and let nature take its course.” By then, Noval realized she wanted to take these events and flesh out the characters and turn this core idea into a work of fiction.

Noval wondered about where, if she had been able, she would have taken her friend on a “girls’ last trip,” and that place was Block Island.

The film centers on three women in their 50s: Mary Finn, who is played by Noval; Jackie Krim playing Lisa Rignoli, who is ill; and Naomi Elice as Ilene Silverstein.

Noval described Lisa as “the firecracker of the group. She broke the rules if she wanted to.”

“It’s just so gorgeous. I’m so in love with the island, its variety and character. The locals seem to be really chill. It’s welcoming.” None of the businesses charged her for shooting at their locations, she said, and those locations included the Old Town Inn, Aldo’s Restaurant, and Painted Rock.

“This couldn’t happen without people offering their help,” said Noval. “It was a remarkable thing.”

The next steps will be to edit the film and score it (which Noval said she will do with her daughter), and then get it out to film festivals. With so little film production happening now due to restrictions on gatherings, Noval said she hoped that would improve her chances of getting the film seen.

In the end, the Block Island landscape did not disappoint.

“We got some really incredible footage,” she said. We got what we came for.”

For more information about the film, visit: