Metcalf likes Midwestern angle of MIFF

Milwaukee-based actor Mark Metcalf is known to the world for many memorable roles.  Niedermeyer in the classic comedy movie “Animal House.”  The Maestro in the classic comedy TV series “Seinfeld.”  Behind tons of ominous makeup as The Master in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV series.  Possibly my favorite, as the angry father in the Twisted Sister videos of the ‘80s shouting the spit-spraying line, “What do you want to do with your life?”

Metcalf would like the world to know Midwestern talent.  As a means to that end, he’s using the Milwaukee International Film Festival as a tool toward showcasing, encouraging and exposing local talent.

In addition to showing 11 days of films from around the globe, the Milwaukee International Film Festival also highlights locally-created movies.  You’ll be able to watch both full-length features and shorts that submitted for the Midwest Filmmaker Competition.  The competition is open to filmmakers from the dozen states considered to be in the Midwestern region, including Wisconsin.  

To develop up-and-coming talent, Metcalf produces and sponsors the MIFF Student Screenwriting Competition.  Earlier this year, 25 scripts were chosen from all of the entries by Milwaukee area high school students.  Concepts from the student’s imaginations ranged from a one-page description for a brief film to mythic trilogies of epic proportion.  Those selected students attended a training seminar of screenwriting instruction by Metcalf and local writers, then submitted their revised screenplays.  Metcalf says the winner was chosen because the script was the most “exciting.”  

The new 13-minute film of competition winner and Pius XI High School senior Vincenzo Balistreri, “She Never Screams,” is the fruition of a collaboration of Metcalf as producer, local film industry veteran Jeff Fitzsimmons as director, and lots of local talent chipping in.  Balistreri himself was hands-on every step of the way and acted as a production assistant for the duration of the filming.  

You can watch Balistreri’s debut film, described in the MIFF program as the exploration of an ordinary man’s detachment from the world, as part of the festival’s Milwaukee Filmmakers Showcase on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7:15 p.m.  Expect to see Balistreri himself pull up in front of the Oriental Theatre in his white hearse with flames painted up the sides for the premiere of his first screenwriting effort.  That’s the kind of car you want a creative teen to have, isn’t it?


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