ST. ALBANS – Fairfield indie filmmaker Harry Goldhagen pointed toward the far corner of Thai House, where a family-sized table sat empty. He stretched his arms, gesturing to two points on an imaginary model of his set where a couple would, hypothetically, be sharing a quiet meal.
“I would want them sitting apart, maybe as far apart as possible,” Goldhagen suggested, stretching his arms out a little further.
Goldhagen thought for a second before forking a carrot on his plate and raising it toward his mouth.
“I could have the camera follow the food,” Goldhagen thought aloud, breaking one of the rules years of filmmaking had imparted to the 60-year-old.
Goldhagen, once an editor and writer for several science and medicinal publications, now lives in East Fairfield, where he’s traded the editor’s chair for the director’s chair, producing several independent films that span the small towns, covered bridges and farmlands of Franklin County.
The first things revealed when entering Goldhagen’s name into a Google search bar are an Internet Movie Database (IMDb) page and, beneath that, the name of his production company: HarryLlama. A winking llama crested by the words “Harry Llama Video” stands in a profile image on his LinkedIn, which identifies the Fairfield transplant as a camera operator and filmmaker.
“That’s a long story,” he said with a laugh when asked: Why llamas? “I used to raise llamas in Utah.”
Goldhagen traced his roots to Queens, the easternmost borough of New York City, where he carved his teeth as a medical technician before taking up an editor’s position with Scientific American’s medical division. He did his degree work between Long Island and the Bronx and called America’s biggest city his home until the 1990s, working with the medical publications that would eventually become WebMD.
But things were rough in New York at the time, Goldhagen lamented. Between the 1980s and early 1990s, crime rates spiked throughout the city, and as crime spilled into the neighborhoods near where Goldhagen lived, he decided it was best to leave the city and follow his friends to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah.
Read more about Goldhagen’s career in the Messenger’s Weekend Edition.