- Film Guide
Our children’s film intern, Tara Monnink, hasn’t gotten much play here on the Milwaukee Film blog since she started with us in March. We asked her to take a moment out of her busy schedule tracking down children’s films to write about The Milwaukee Youth Show, our showcase of kid-produced movies. --Susan
Are you under the age of 18, made an awesome film, and would love nothing more than to have it shown on the big screen? (Or do you know someone who fits that description?) The 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival is now accepting submissions for The Milwaukee Youth Show until June 24. And the best part? It's free to enter!
The Milwaukee Youth Show features short (20 minutes or fewer) animated, fiction, and documentary films by young filmmakers from Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Walworth, or Washington counties. The films must have been written, directed, and produced by young people. (No helping, parents!) Tell your story-- any story-- or re-tell one. Get a group of friends together and make some movie magic happen!
You can get all the ins and outs about submitting your film here.
If your film is accepted into the show, we will let you know no later than August 30, 2013. And if you have any questions, send them our way: email@example.com. We look forward to watching your films!
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Maureen Post!
Maureen is the brand new Community Partners Coordinator for the 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival. That means she’s responsible for making sure every single film in the festival is paired with a local business, non-profit, community group, educational institution, or student-led group. Once paired, they become a Community Partner. And as a partner, they promote their film to their audience, and we promote their organization to our audience. Everyone wins!
Maureen is a Milwaukee native and current resident, and has spent the last 10 years putting her various passions to work. She’s a freelance writer for for publications like Milwaukee Magazine, Edible Madison, and AV Club Milwaukee. She handles marketing & PR for various local business and designers. She owns and operates a picture frame business called Norman and Roberta, which you can find at HoverCraft, Maker’s Market, etsy, and small brick-and-mortar boutiques. And while all of this might convince you she has zero free time, somehow she found some, and is currently using it to enjoy Scandanavian film and television!
If you’re interested in talking to Maureen about becoming a Community Partner, or want to know a little more about the program, you can find more information here.
Then drop her a line so we can bring you on board for our biggest, best film festival yet.
Sign Painters @ Oriental Theatre (Thu, May 16 @ 7p)
(dir. Faythe Levine & Sam Macon, USA, 2013)
After a seemingly endless schedule of screenings and lectures about her debut documentary film Handmade Nation, Milwaukee maker Faythe Levine debuts her second film to the city she calls home TONIGHT. A collaborative directorial effort with filmmaker Sam Macon, Sign Painters honors the craft of hand-lettered sign painting by talking to the artists who continue to do this truly beautiful work in an era overwhelmed by not at all unique digitally made, mass produced signage.
Read more about the film here and watch the trailer for Sign Painters here.
Bicycle Film Festival @ MAM (Sat, May 18 @ 5:30, 7:30, 9:30p)
If you are a bicycle and were wondering when you'd get a film festival that celebrated you, consider this your lucky day. Rather, consider this Saturday your lucky day. That's when the Bicycle Film Festival happens to mark the end of Bike to Work Week. (You are biking, right?) Consisting of three different programs, each boasting a different line-up of short films celebrating every style of bike and biking, the Bicycle Film Festival "brings together all aspects of bicycling together to advocate its ability to transport us in many ways."
Get more info on the Bicycle Film Festival here.
Senior Screening @ UWM Union Theatre (Thurs, May 16)
King’s Row @ Charles Allis (Weds, May 22 @ 7:30p)
Last month, nearly 500 of you showed for the April Members-Only Screening. That’s a lot of Members! But would you believe it’s not ALL of our Members? So when we booked May’s Members-Only screening, and the studio told us there was a cap of 250 on the number of people who could attend the screening, we got worried.
Our solution? Book a second film!
This month, to accommodate the rapidly growing number of Milwaukee Film Members, we’re presenting TWO films. No, it’s not a double-feature. It’s two different films on two different screens on the same night, so no members get left out!
Which one will you see? THE CHOICE IS YOURS:
7:00 PM: Morgan Neville’s Twenty Feet From Stardom
Selected for this year’s opening night at Sundance, this film brings music fans the moving stories of a string of talented backup vocalists, as well as the famous faces they’ve shared the stage with, including Carole King, Mick Jagger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sting and Michael Jackson.
7:15 PM: Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ The Kings of Summer_
Another Sundance premiere, this MFF Alum crowbars the typical coming-of-age movie wide open with this refreshingly irreverent film, which sees three boys decamp from their homes and families to build a house in the woods.
Both films are great, and both films are tearing up the film festival circuit. Obviously, the sooner you RSVP, the more likely you are to see the film you want. Once one film fills up, you’ll only have the remaining film as an option.
Just for this month, you will RSVP a little differently. Just CLICK HERE to make your choice online. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. The screenings take place on Wednesday, May 29th at 7pm at the Landmark Oriental Theatre. Reservations close on Monday, May 27th. Space is limited and tickets are available on a first-come first-served basis.
Hey, Kristopher! What if I'm NOT a member, but I want to come to this and all subsequent screenings, and I want to get lots of great deals on festival tickets and merchandise, and-- Whoa! Slow down, friend! I have just the solution. BECOME A MEMBER THIS VERY MINUTE and all your movie-related dreams will come true!comments...
Milwaukee filmmaker Frankie Latina rose to prominence in the independent film world in 2009 with his first feature film, festival circuit hit and MFF alum Modus Operandi. Since then, he's been working hard toward shooting his second feature, including a detour to Latin America to try and make Skinny Dip. As he prepares to shoot Snap Shot this summer, following his successful $75,000 Kickstarter campaign last month, I sat down to talk with him about Sasha Grey and why Danny Trejo accosted him.
Releasing Modus Operandi on DVD through Kino Lorber is impressive. It's everywhere. How did that come about?
Milwaukee native and film producer Jack Turner (We Are What We Are; Me @ the Zoo, MFF 2012) had seen Modus Operandi at the Milwaukee Film Festival and asked if I had any new projects in the works. I told him about my Skinny Dip script and we decided to try and make it together. In the meantime, he set-up the Kino Lorber release of Modus Operandi. It's on Netflix, Time Warner on Demand, Red Box, Amazon and more. Jack was instrumental in making that happen.
For your new film you are more than doubling your budget and making it in a much shorter timeline. Any thoughts on how you make this transition?
Modus Operandi took me 5 years to make. I am hoping to make my new film, Snap Shot, in four weeks. This is how I always wanted to make films, but I never had the money.
You raised $75,000 through Kickstarter to make your second feature film. How did you do it?
It all started with getting Sasha Grey involved. It made using Kickstarter a no brainer. She has a ton of social media followers from her previous career, and a totally new and different audience added on to it from her new career. And with Kickstarter, it's basic arithmetic: How many followers do you have on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook? What if 5% of those people donated?
So you think Sasha and her audience were a driver of this project in terms of raising the money?
Originally, yes. I was supposed to work with Sasha on my last feature film, Skinny Dip-- the one with Jack-- but unfortunately the funding fell through. I stayed in contact with Sasha after that. When I told her I had a new project, of course she was going to be involved. She was going to do the Kickstarter campaign with me. Unfortunately, this book came out, something ...Shades of Grey. Do you know that book?
Fifty Shades of Grey. Yeah. Sasha got hired to write her own version of 50 Shades of Grey called The Juliette Society, and she took it very seriously. But it took her away from my project. She's still going to do a cameo, which is cool, but couldn't really help with my Kickstarter campaign once the book deal happened. And that meant I had to adjust the $150,000 I initially wanted to raise.
Then I talked to Gilbert Trejo. He wanted to tell me about this idea he had for a film that he'd write and I could direct. We sat down with his dad Danny Trejo and pitched him the idea, to see if he would act in it, and he loved it.
How do you know Danny?
The last feature I made was called Modus Operandi. It was an homage to art house, grind house and drive-in movie theatre films. While in production I realized I needed one more piece for the puzzle. I'd always been into Danny Trejo, so I called his agent. After hanging up on me a few times, the agent finally listened. I said I only had a small amount of money, but would love to have him for just one day and I'd fly him out the next morning. They said no, they were too busy, so I just kept calling until they asked that I send over the script. A few days later they said, "put the money in escrow and we'll send him out for one day."
So he worked on Modus Operandi, you two stayed friends, and now you know his son?
After he came to town, yes. I couldn’t give him the Hollywood treatment when he came to Milwaukee to shoot Modus Operandi, but my friends from the Milwaukee police department gave him a police escort from the airport to the Pfister. He couldn’t believe the Pfister Hotel. He thought it was like the Sistine Chapel. The whole time I treated him like a friend and not like a commodity or an actor. He was really into that.
We stayed in contact, after that, too. Danny invited me to a screening with him and his son, but Danny was late and Gilbert and I had never met before. So I was standing outside waiting for Danny to show up, and this guy was walking down the street wearing a jacket with this interesting Aztec pattern on it. I was like, "Oh, wow. That is a really cool jacket." He asked if I was here to see the movie, then started geeking out about the French New Wave and films. We were just two film geeks. Then Danny walked up and said, "Hey, Frankie. I want you to meet my son Gilbert. Gilbert, this is Frankie, the guy from Milwaukee who shot that weird drive-in movie." Our friendship is genuine because I met him without knowing that he was a famous actor’s son.
So I followed the Kickstarter campaign from afar. It seemed to be going slowly at first and then midway through-- BOOM! It took off. Did anything trigger the success?
Well, I watched my friend Chris Thompson do a Kickstarter for his movie The Jeffrey Dahmer Files. We worked in same office. He was super stressed out about it. I also watched my other friends Sean Williamson and Marc Escribano run campaigns and they had a similar experience. Super stressed-out, but each time successful. It’s like a great sporting event where you start out strong early on, then hit some struggles, but in the end wind up on top.
Unless you are a Cleveland Browns fan.
Unless you are a Browns fan.
Which you are, right?
Yes. I hold Bernie Koser and Eric Metcalf very close to my heart. I hope the Browns take a cheesehead out of the Packers this year. You know they play each other this year? We should go together. I should shoot a scene there for my movie with the Kickstarter money at Lambeau.
So what made your funding campaign work in the end?
Well, we started getting these bigger donations. Someone gave $5,000 to get killed by Danny Trejo in the film. Then another person did it. But it still wasn't enough. We still needed $50,000 more, and Danny couldn't help promote the campaign because we was in London shooting an action film. We figured we'd have to find another way to make this movie. Then really bad news came: Danny’s mother, Gilbert’s grandmother, had died.
Danny had to come back to L.A. for the funeral immediately. And even though he was back now, I couldn’t ask him to work on the campaign. Not after losing his mother. I did what any human would do and backed off.
The day of the funeral, I was getting ready when our publicist for the campaign called and said the internet show What’s Trending wants to interview Danny about the Kickstarter campaign...today. The day of the funeral! I turned it down immediately without asking him. Later that day though, Danny asked me about the campaign and how it was going. I said we are pretty far from our goal, but don’t worry about it with the situation at hand. Instantly you could see Danny had this fire in his belly. He grabbed us by the shirt collars and said, “You guys have to make this happen! Your grandma is up in Heaven! She’s gonna make this happen for us!”
It was incredible, like a Vince Lombardi type speech... and on the same day he buried his mother! Danny is such a professional. Nicest person you can imagine. Total Salt of the Earth. He did the What’s Trending interview that day.
And the interview was critical to the Kickstarter campaign?
Gilbert and I were sitting around, depressed about his grandmother and the Kickstarter campaign. Then my phone started going crazy. Every time a donation came in from Kickstarter, I'd get an email. Apparently, after the interview was posted on What’s Trending, The Huffington Post posted it. Donations started pouring in from all over the world: Germany, Australia, New Mexico, Idaho, Toronto.
Unbelievable! Now, the film itself-- what is it about?
Snap Shot is about a fashion photographer who buys a used camera at an antique store. When he goes to put a roll of film in, he discovers a roll of film already inside it. He gets it processed and the photos are of a murder. So the photographer tries to figure it out, but the people who took the photos hire Danny to retrieve the photos for them.
When and where are are you shooting the film?
Late June, early July. We're shooting in Milwaukee.
Do you have locations picked out?
City Hall. The Bell Tower. Milwaukee Art Museum. I’d love to shoot with the Milwaukee Ballet, and at the Wisconsin Gas Light building, too. I recently met with Michael Drescher, who owns that building. He was so nice. He is going to let me throw someone off the building!
Any other actors we might know in the film?
Mark Borchardt, Cookie Johnson. Andy Noble is not acting in it, but he's digging up 1970s psychedelic 45s from Milwaukee for the soundtrack. Oh, yeah, and Kumar Pallana.
Kumar? The Kumar? How did you get him in the film?
When we premiered Modus Operandi in NYC at the IFC Center, Jack Turner called and asked if I knew Kumar. Jack said Kumar had called him and heard about the premiere, and that he wanted to come to it. We hung out for drinks afterwards, and have been great friends ever since.
Did I ever tell you the story of the first time I met you? It was at the UWM Film Department. You got into a shouting match with a teacher. I believe it was related to a room conflict for a class. It was like 16 years ago and my first year in Milwaukee. You literally got into a shouting match with my teacher.
I remember that! I had reserved the room that evening for a screening and his class was in it, for some reason. My mom had just died, and I had all my friends and family coming to see a film I made about my her, Everything is Everything. Its always about someone’s mom dying.
The 2013 Milwaukee Film Festival Call for Entries is now open--and FREE! Submit your film today. Maybe you'll meet Frankie while you're here.comments...