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The Grasslands (2011)

THE GRASSLANDS, a film noir feel and old school 35mm filmmaking made for under $500,000. We follow the story of Ciro, a Bronx hood whose sense of honor threatens his life long friends as he... See full synopsis »


Chris Raffaele


Chris Raffaele




Credited cast:
Peter Greene ... Baby John
James Madio ... Lenny
Chuck Zito ... Matty
Arthur J. Nascarella ... Detective Flynt
Louis Vanaria ... Volpe
Saul Stein ... Ratchett
Toni Belafonte ... Detective Mitch
Danny Doherty ... Fruity
Samantha Safdie ... Evelyn
Alan Davidson Alan Davidson ... Charlie
Shannon Foster ... Lisa
James Patric Moran ... Lonigan
Stephanie Ortiz Stephanie Ortiz ... Philly
Chris Raffaele Chris Raffaele ... Ciro
Wayne Gurman ... Gannon


THE GRASSLANDS, a film noir feel and old school 35mm filmmaking made for under $500,000. We follow the story of Ciro, a Bronx hood whose sense of honor threatens his life long friends as he tries to find out who murdered his father twenty years earlier. Filmed on 35mm black and white and in color with anamorphic lenses, the Bronx becomes a character in itself. Reminiscent of the classic studio films of the 1940's, The Grasslands has a unique look and feel that allows it to stand out amongst any of todays independent films. The Grasslands is written and directed by Chris Raffaele whose past films include, Sally Boy, which won The Worldfest, Flagstaff International Film Festival Award for Best Dramatic Short. Former recipients of this award are Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, George Lucas and David Lynch. His film When I Was a Child is the other short film which was selected as a finalist to screen for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis


Burying a body always digs up the past





Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

1 December 2012 (USA) See more »


Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Brilliant and enthralling

From its opening scenes The Grasslands ignites a spark that burns until the very last minute. Revolving around not one but two murders the story introduces us to Ciro a young man from the Bronx divided between his loyalty to friends and family and a need to uphold his father's legacy. Surrounding Ciro is a cast of characters as varied as they are alike; working together as a crew yet each member driven by a unique motivation. Writer/director Chris Raffaele thoroughly explores the relationship between each character and the effect their particular agenda has on the story. His meticulous attention to detail (i.e a faded tattoo , Ciro's hand on Evelyn's back during a kiss) gives this dark world a glimmer of humanity. Raffaele also proves effective in front of the camera bringing a sense of honor and passion to Ciro who seemingly has the world against him. Stellar supporting performances by Peter Greene, Chuck Zito, and James Madio respectively add grit, power, and innocence to the film. The most prominent character, the Bronx, comes to life under Raffaele's excellent direction and the distinct cinematography that makes this film so unique. Part thriller and part love story The Grasslands will keep you enthralled until the very end. A true indie gem, it shows us not just what films are capable of but what they are supposed to be.

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