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Five Towns Student Set to Release Short Film Shot on LI

"Y the Last Man" was written and directed by Five Towns student Ryan O'Leary.

A short film shot on Long Island last spring and starring local talent will be posted online Friday. 

Adapting an acclaimed comic book series, senior Ryan O'Leary, 21, of Monroe, N.J,  wrote and directed the 30-minute fan film, "Y: The Last Man." The short stars James Kuck, 26, of North Babylon, as the title character, who in an instant became the last man on Earth when a plague simultaneously killed every male mammal. He sets off on a cross-country journey to find the love of his life, who he can't be certain feels the same way about him.

O'Leary had taken a "comics to film" class at Five Towns and jumped at the opportunity to adapt "Y" for his final project.

"It's my favorite story in any medium," he said. "Something about it really spoke to me."

The comic book series included 60 issues and more than 1,000 pages. O'Leary said he broke it down to its basic elements to adapt it to a short film, having to cut plotlines concerning international espionage and the main character's pet  -- the last male capuchin monkey on earth.

Kuck said he hadn't read the series himself prior to being cast, but before filming he read as much as he could to familiarize himself with his character and the story.

The "Y" in the title stands for the main character's name, Yorick, and it poses the question, "Why is he, of all people, the last bearer of the Y chromosome?" Before the plague he had an appropriate career: escape artist.

O'Leary and Kuck met at a Five Towns filmmakers networking night, during which O'Leary's film "A Bloody Mess" screened.

O'Leary said he didn't know when he would need an actor like Kuck, having stuck mostly to making comedies, but when he decided to make "Y," he thought that Kuck had the right look for Yorick.

The film co-stars Krystel Bua of Rocky Point and Elysia Segal, an actress originally from Florida and now residing in New York City.

"Most of it was shot in about three days," O'Leary said. Locations included Robert Moses beach, which stood in for Santa Monica, a house in West Islip, a street in Huntington, the studio at Five Towns, various locations in Brooklyn and outdoors shots in Central New Jersey.

It premiered at the Litchfield Hills Film Festival in Connecticut on April 10 and it also screened three times at in Stony Brook last weekend. O'Leary plans to post the entire film online Friday. It will be found at www.ythelastmanfanfilm.com.

During his years at Five Towns, O'Leary said the biggest thing he's learned about making films is that you only get better by making mistakes.

"While there's things that can be learned in the classroom, I learned the most by making my own films," he said. "The professors let us go out there and do what we wanted, creatively, there were never any limitations toward what I could do. On each film I did, I made a new set of mistakes and learned from them."

Ryan Bonner contributed to this article.

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