‘Rockaway’ keeps rocking in California
LI Herald – Dec 7, 2017 | by Michael Smollins
Director John J. Budion’s film about his experiences growing up in East Rockaway has continued to create a buzz and has generated plenty of early success.
“Rockaway” debuted at the Flickers’ Rhode Island Film Festival in August and won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film. It then made its West Coast premiere at the Catalina Film Festival in California in September, where it was selected as Best U.S. Feature Film. Last Saturday, it won the award for Most Impactful Narrative Film at Paramount Studios in Hollywood.
Movie about East Rockaway named best feature at Catalina Film Festival
LI Herald – Oct 26, 2017 | by Michael Smollins
Director John J. Budion said he was unsure how to react. There he stood as the audience gave his movie “Rockaway” a standing ovation as the credits rolled at the Catalina Film Festival in California on Sept. 30.
“I almost started choking up a little bit,” Budion recalled. “I just kind of stood there and was like, ‘Wow, people really like this. We made something that people really like, not just our friends and family.’ I thanked everyone and maybe did a little bit of a bow, but I don’t remember.”
Chris Pratt’s ‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’ film due in 2019; LI native’s ‘Rockaway’ debuts
Newsday – Aug 9, 2017 | by Rafer Guzmán
The debut feature from North Shore native John J. Budion will have its premiere at Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival on Sunday. Previously titled “Life Now, Life Then,” Budion’s semi-autobiographical film is set in East Rockaway (and was partly filmed there) and tells the story of two brothers raised by an abusive father. Budion’s young cast includes Keidrich Sellati (FX’s “The Americans”), Maxwell Apple (“Person to Person”) and James DiGiacomo (CBS’ “Kevin Can Wait”).
R.I. International Film Festival: Five movies not to miss
Providence Journal – Aug 7, 2017 | by Andy Smith
“Rockaway” (feature, 87 minutes). This is a coming-of-age drama about two young brothers who dream of a Knicks championship (good luck with that) and a better life. The younger brother, John, relies on his older brother for protection from an abusive father. They’ve always been dependent on each other until they meet a group of boys who expand their world. It will be shown Sunday, Aug. 13, at 2:30 p.m. at the Metcalf Auditorium.
East Rockaway filmmaker shoots coming-of-age drama in his hometown
FIOS1 News – July 15, 2016 | by Cecilia Dowd
There’s a movie in the works that may put a tiny Nassau County village on the map. “Life Now, Life Then,” a coming of age drama set in 1994 that was written and is being directed by East Rockaway native John J. Budion, is being filmed where he grew up. Budion says the film is inspired by true events.
“We follow young John and young Anthony as they’re battling an abusive father. It’s really just been the two of them growing up until they meet a group of boys who sort of help them through life’s problems,” Budion explains.
Long Island director filming in hometown
Fox5 News – July 7, 2016 | by Baruch Shemtov
John Budion grew up in East Rockaway, New York, went on to have a successful career as a writer director an visual effects artist behind projects like ETRADE's talking baby campaign, and now he's back in his small hometown directing his first feature film, a coming of age drama called "Life Now, Life Then."
With Budion returning to his roots, his project is invigorating this village of around 10,000 residents. Beyond reliving his childhood, for Budion, this film has a greater purpose.
East Rockaway native directs coming-of-age film in his hometown
LI Herald – July 6, 2016 | by Nick Ciccone
In 1994, John Budion was a teenager and a student at East Rockaway High School, trying to make sense of the world. Now, he’s directing an independent film based on his childhood, centered on that year — and he’s filming it in the village.
“My brother and I moved here in fourth grade, and we met a group of guys that just embraced us as one of them before we even knew them that well,” said Budion, who’s now 34. He attended Rhame Avenue Elementary School, and graduated from East Rockaway High in 1999.