A Sweet Experience Meant to be Savored: ‘Waffle Street,’ A Financier’s Story of Rehabilitation

By Jackson Hoch

The Periscope (Carlisle, Pennsylvania)

Waffle Street is an adaptation of a memoir, Waffle Street: The Confession And Rehabilitation Of A Financier by James Adams, a Mechanicsburg native. The story follows his layoff from a hedge fund during the time of the 2008 finical crisis. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission official website, hedge funds “pool investors’ money and invest the money in an effort to make a positive return, however unlike mutual funds hedge funds are not subject to some regulations that provide protection to private investors.” As portrayed on the big screen, after Adams’ layoff he chooses to work the night shift at a 24-hour diner as he is looking for something that offers more gratification. According to Adams, “The film is a riches-to-rags, fish-out-of-water story about a guy who’s desperately trying to find his way in a working world beset with ethical dilemmas (seen in the opening scenes at the investment firm) and jobs mismatched to his talents (repeatedly experienced at the restaurant). The main takeaway is that it’s difficult to fully enjoy your life unless you’re doing honest work that’s also suited to your temperament.” He added, “The major departure from the book was the creation of the plot device of my attempting to purchase the restaurant from the existing franchisee.  This generates a sense of urgency that viewers need to really engage with the protagonist.” Waffle Street stars Emmy-nominated actor Danny Glover and One Tree Hill actor James Lafferty. The film has already found success. It won “Best Narrative Feature” at the 2015 Hollywood Film Festival as well as a few other awards. Adams said that compared to the memoir, “The film also focuses far more on my family life.” His wife Becky Burton graduated from Carlisle High School in 1999. She is portrayed by actress Julie Gonzalo. The filming process was no easy task. Adams said, “It was marathon with no finish line.  The initial script was completed in a few weeks in 2010, but it went through twenty drafts before the cameras finally rolled.  The screenwriter spent two years finding a producer, then the process stalled for a year before picking up steam in 2014.  After a month-long shoot, the directors, editors, and sound people spent an additional year on postproduction work until we hit the festival circuit. Finding the right distributor and getting through all of the legal details was yet another hill to climb.” Carlisle was chosen as a location for a showing before Waffle Street’s general release in digital formats because “the Carlisle Theatre was willing to provide us with a weekend screening time,” Adams said. He added, “That was something extremely difficult to come by. It seats 900 people, whereas most theatres can’t accommodate much more than 200—we’ve already done that much in pre-sales. (Theatre manger Leslie Sterner has been wonderfully helpful in the marketing process.) Lastly, I grew up in Mechanicsburg and my wife’s from Carlisle (CHS ’99), so it just felt right to hold the event here.” Waffle Street is a promising film with a message just as sweet as watching the film itself. This early showing is surely something not to miss. Tickets for the movie are being sold for $10. After the 90 minute showing there will be a Q&A and book signing with Adams. Tickets can be purchased here.

 

Image Credit: The Periscope 

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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