Director Julian Lowenthal fuses big-ticket talent with Franklin County landmarks in ‘Money Game’

  • Shea Theater and other businesses on Avenue A in Turners Falls. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ


Staff Writer
Published: 3/28/2022 8:44:53 PM
Modified: 3/28/2022 8:43:57 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Local director Julian Lowenthal has chosen Franklin County for the filming location of “Money Game,” his major union film directing debut.

Lowenthal, a Turners Falls resident who directed and shot 2018 “psychological thriller horror” film “Silenced” in the village, summarized “Money Game” as “Good Will Hunting meets Wolf of Wall Street.” Made relevant by real-life pandemic-inflicted economic hardship, the drama involves “the story of an average American journey in 2021 to succeed and navigate this system that he’s trying to get ahead with,” according to Lowenthal. The ultra-low-budget film, he said, looks to showcase “a very supportive town for family businesses and community” in Montague, as well as Greenfield and Deerfield. 

While Lowenthal has never been the primary director for a major union film, he is no stranger to the bright lights of Hollywood’s biggest stage. He has experience in grip and electrical directing roles, having worked on films such as 2021’s “Free Guy” starring Ryan Reynolds, 2019’s “Knives Out” starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas and 2021’s “Don’t Look Up” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Jonah Hill.

Directing “Money Game,” which stars Daniel Washington, Terrance McFadden Jr. and Chris Owen, won’t be too much of a learning curve, Lowenthal said. He added that the cast members — many of which have worked with him on previous films — have helped to build a team that can effectively execute his creativity on a grand scale.

“It’s definitely a two-way street,” Lowenthal said of working alongside the cast. “A lot of the cast has helped me find other great cast mates that they suggested.”

Lowenthal also touted his cast’s ability to imbue sincerity into their roles. Washington plays the role of James, a single father with two daughters who is trying to navigate pandemic life in the midst of economic downturn, a story all too familiar in 2022. On the other end of the spectrum, McFadden Jr. portrays film villain Bryson, a money-hungry womanizer born into wealth whose selfishness obstructs the well-being of others.

“He gets the character because he sees people like that, unfortunately,” Lowenthal said of McFadden Jr. “He represents what I feel is not only hurting the country, but the economy.”

Lowenthal expressed particular excitement in his success drawing big-name actors to the region he calls home. While he was born in New York City, Lowenthal moved to Amherst at the age of three, living there into his early 20s and founding Baer Breaking Bread Productions, the production company for “Money Game” that is still partially based in the town. The other office is located in Turners Falls, where Lowenthal has lived for “six or seven years.” The overwhelming majority of his work throughout his career, he said, has been performed right in New England.

“I feel that this region is a character,” he said. “I feel that there’s an energy this region presents that is very encouraging, welcoming, and supportive.”

Aside from one scene being shot in Amherst, all scenes will be shot in Turners Falls, Greenfield, and Deerfield. Some of the shooting locations he revealed include the Shea Theater, the former Hubie’s Tavern, Greenfield Garden Cinemas, and local parks. He said filming, scheduled to take place from March 29 to April 23, will not be obstructive to the local community.

“For one thing, we are trying to monitor our footprint and we’re not closing off roads or stopping businesses,” Lowenthal said, adding that he will be ensuring noise is kept to a minimum.

Lowenthal said he hopes for “Money Game” to be released in spring or summer of 2023 at still-undetermined outlets. Regardless of when and how the film is released, though, Lowenthal is looking for his audience to “ leave in a better position than they came in before they went to see the movie.”

“I want them to be entertained,” he said, “but I also want them to have a strong feeling of empowerment … and have the energy to go climb their mountain.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or


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