Anyone watching musician, artist and dancer Adam Baranello at work can see it — a certain intensity and passion in his face, a true fire beneath what he is doing, and creating, and ultimately saying.
But there are only so many pop songs he can write to get his point across.
“I have themes that I stick with. I can’t help it, it’s just always where I go,” he said. “It’s almost like I needed another way to say it and, in all honesty, cinema and film is my favorite thing in the world. I probably stayed away from attempting it because I didn’t think it was possible.”
Once he did, all bets were off — most notably with “Beautifully Strange” in 2017 and, now, its sequel, “The Weird Ones,” which will screen on Wednesday, June 13, at the Southampton Movie Theater.
“You don’t necessarily need to see ‘Beautifully Strange’ to figure out what’s going out in ‘The Weird Ones,’” he said. “However, everything is a lot deeper if you’ve seen ‘Beautifully Strange’ because there’s a lot more character development in the first one that is implied or understood in the second one.”
The feature-length film, shot primarily in black and white, picks up where the first film leaves off: with three dancers — Lua Li, Kaylie Wilson and Gail Baranello, who represent optimism, truth and Zen, respectively — and their fight against an evil corporate conglomerate.
“There is a lot of dialogue and there is a lot of dance. It has both. It’s primarily a movie about ideas,” Baranello said. “It uses dance as a tool, and it uses dance as what they do, because that’s along the lines of what I do with dance. It’s a job, it’s what I do, but I use it as a tool to communicate.”
For more than a decade, the artist has relied on multiple creative outlets to express his message. “Have confidence and believe in yourself,” he said. “Stand up for the truth, for what’s right. Have honesty and integrity. Find out your truth and be honest about that. Stick with it and push it forward, because that’s what helps the world grow and be a better place.”
“Because of that, there ends up being these resistance songs and revolution songs, and all these fight songs — in a way, to stand up. Stand up and believe in what you believe in, and do the right thing,” he said. “With the main characters, that’s what they’re really representing: people who are being authentic, being themselves, being true to who they are and the life that they’re living.”
Filming began in September, and continued every weekend through last month, he said. Other than one night in Manhattan, the cast and crew of 20 stayed local, shooting from Dune Road in Westhampton Beach to Main Street in Montauk.
“I wanted to capture how I see it out here, the beautiful parts of what I see,” Baranello said. “And to sum that up, the best thing I heard during film was Lua, the youngest main character, at one point she said, ‘You know, we could be in the most beautiful garden and there’d be a dumpster to the right, and you’d want to film the dumpster in the garden.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, absolutely! You’re totally right.’
“When I say beautiful, I know it’s a different idea than what people might think of out here — the natural beauty of the landscape,” he continued. “I try to make it a cool aesthetic out here, or find what is obscure or different.”
In between weekend shoots, Baranello would edit his footage throughout the week, eventually cutting down nearly 350 GB of footage — “I don’t know how many hours that is, but it’s a lot,” he said — to 85 minutes.
It was the best type of puzzle, he said, with a giddiness in his voice that was impossible to hide.
“You can see in my face how excited I get when I’m working, when I’m talking about it,” he said. “It’s my favorite format to work in, and I really enjoy the process of it. If the finished product is 50 percent of how good it feels making it, then I’m happy.
“I really like to create stuff, and I really like to create stuff on my own because I know how I want it to look and feel and sound like,” he continued. “But what I love about film is you need actors, and you need people to make that happen, and I’m very, very, very lucky that I have access to the people who are in it, and have the relationships with all the people in it — where they let themselves be in my world, and facilitate the vision of it. Because it wouldn’t exist without them.”
“The Weird Ones” will screen on Wednesday, June 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the Southampton Movie Theater, located at 43 Hill Street in Southampton. For more information, please visit adambaranello.com.