By Bernadette Starzee, Long Island Business News

libn film picJoe Campolo, managing partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick in Ronkonkoma, attended last year’s Stony Brook Film Festival “just to watch movies,” he said, but was especially impressed by a short film “This Is Ellen,” starring Michael Nathanson and directed by John Salcido. Nathanson and Salcido spoke on stage at the screening, and Campolo met them at the after-party.

“I wasn’t going to go to the party, but they were so talented, I figured I would go meet them to see what their story was,” he said.

The pair submitted a script for a short film called “Tribute” to Campolo, who found it “laugh-out-loud funny.” He decided to executive produce it in partnership with a client, Joe Zepf, with whom he formed the production company Campolo Zepf Productions.

Starring Nathanson and directed by Salcido, “Tribute” tells the story of a series of misadventures that happen when a man accompanies his girlfriend to a party honoring her ex-boyfriend. “Tribute” aired at last month’s Stony Brook Film Festival, generating a lot of interest for Campolo Zepf Productions.

“When starving actors and filmmakers hear people are interested in investing, they come in droves,” Campolo said.

“Tribute” is continuing to make the rounds on the film festival circuit.

“If shorts generate a lot of interest, they might be nominated for an Academy Award or picked up to be made into a feature,” said Campolo. Working on the film project in addition to his busy law practice has presented time management challenges for Campolo though.

“I don’t sleep,” he said. “But it’s a lot of fun. It’s a business and an investment, but it’s a new adventure that’s out of the day-to-day grind.”

Watch the film trailer here!