Hal Salwen began his filmmaking career by attending New York University film school where he graduated from. His first feature screenplay landed him an agent and the all-important first sale to a Hollywood producer, while a short film he directed at NYU won him admittance to the Director's Internship Program, co-sponsored by the American Film Institute and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (part of his internship was served on Sylvester Stallone's STAYING ALIVE).
Following his training, Salwen began working on a number of television commercials in various capacities, from a production assistant to producer. Simultaneously, he continued working on several screenplays, two of which found their way into production as made-for-cable thrillers -- DEADLY SURVEILLANCE and PROBABLE CAUSE, both directed by Paul Ziller and starring Michael Ironside.
While his screenwriting career continued to grow, Salwen came upon the idea for DENISE CALLS UP, which he eventually directed in New York City in 1994, after hooking up (via fax, phone, and modem) with J. Todd Harris, an independent producer affiliated with Davis Entertainment (PREDATOR, THE FIRM, GRUMPY OLD MEN). DENISE came to me during a time when I was frantically writing screenplays on spec - and anybody who has ever done it knows how tough and how isolating it is tobe a freelancer. Now and then, I would call and talk to an old friend of mine over the phone as a break when my fingers would get tired. We'd talk about everything that had been going on in his life -- he'd been in love, out of love, he'd changed careers, gone back to school, and then one day I was invited to a party in Brooklyn. When we finally met, I realized I hadn't actually seen him in three years. I went home and started playing with the idea of what it would be like if all the major events in a particular group of friend's lives happened between people who never met."
Last modified 28-Mar-96.
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