Monday, February 1, 2010

Don't forget to go tomorrow night!

2/2 Mitten Movie Project

independent short films
Host: Type: Network:
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
7:30pm - 10:30pm
Main Art Theatre - Royal Oak


independent short films

Contact: Connie Mangilin
Curator, Mitten Movie Project


Detroit, MI – The February 2nd Mitten Movie Project pays tribute to the art of making 48-hour shorts. Disturbingly beautiful, “The Message,” shows Detroit in all of its post-apocalyptic glory and is a shining example of what is possible in just 48 short hours. Also screening is the impressive World War II short, “The Commandant,” film festival favorite and Director Robert Joseph Butler’s personal fave, “Solitude,” and the inspiring documentary about Detroit renaissance/revival, “The Farmer and the Philosopher.” The February Mitten Movie Project takes place on Tuesday, February 2nd at 7:30 p.m. at the Main Art Theatre (118 N. Main Street, Royal Oak 48067). For presale tickets and more information, go to

For Mike Zawacki, the director of “The Message,” this was his second time crewing on a 48-hour short. (Zawacki crewed on Paradise Valley Media’s “A Little Knowledge” -- the short that won the Detroit chapter of the 2009 48 Hour Film Project, and which qualified them for the international shootout.) Regarding the challenges of making a 48-hour short, Zawacki explained, “It's harder to fine-tune the script, . . . harder to do pre-production, to come up with locations, costumes, set dressings, and props. It's harder to shoot, and harder to rehearse with your actors.” But as Zawacki further explained, “Where it really bites you is in post-production. Until it's edited you can't start composing and/or laying in the music and you can't start sound designing (which is possibly the most time intensive part of post production!).”

To overcome those challenges, Zawacki said that “[f]irst and foremost you should try to crew up with quality people whom you've worked with before.” Then the next step is to “frontload pre-production and cast a very broad net in terms of actors, locations, props, and so on.” Another important aspect of completing a 48-hour short is “scheduling and having a predetermined work-flow.” A production needs a “clear map of what you're going to be doing when, from the minute you get your script elements to the minute you hand in your completed film. Not just call sheets and shooting schedules, but deciding how long you'll have to write, how long you'll have to edit, at what point does your editor hand over a cut to sound and music, how long to work on sound and music, what is your editor doing while sound and music are finishing their work, and so forth.”

Normally, 48-hour competitions have four requirements that filmmakers must adhere to: a genre, character, prop, and line of dialogue (there is sometimes an additional location requirement). But the International 48 Hour Film Project Shootout had only two requirements: a theme and city identifier. The theme that 54 teams from around the world wrestled with was END OF THE WORLD – one that was very familiar to Mike Zawacki and most of the crew of “The Message,” as many spent a year and a half making a post-apocalyptic sci-fi series and feature film in Detroit.

In other news, the winner of the January 2010 Mitten Movie Project Audience Choice Award was “Avabot,” the local sci-fi short directed by Jamie Surgener. Second and third place winners were “Death in Charge” and “Retreat,” respectively. “Death in Charge,” the short from California “directrix” Devi Snively, which features Death as a babysitter, and “Retreat,” a short by local director Robert Joseph Butler, will air on the Mitten Movie Show on Comcast 18/Wow 52 from February 3rd to February 28th on Wednesdays at 11 p.m. and Saturdays at midnight in Auburn Hills, Berkley, Clawson, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Oakland Township, Pleasant Ridge, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, and Troy to reach over 140,000 households.

The Mitten Movie Project would like to thank the 100 moviegoers that braved the cold and post-holiday craziness to come to the January 5th Mitten Movie Project. The MMP would also like to thank M1 Studios in Royal Oak ( for its DVD authoring services, and its newest sponsor, Michigan Movie Magazine, for its monthly online coverage of the Mitten Movie Project (

The Mitten Movie Project is a monthly film festival dedicated to screening independent films the first Tuesday of every month at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak. Presale tickets are available for $8 by e-mailing Tickets at the door are $10 (cash only). A pre-screening reception starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Art lobby where moviegoers can mingle with the directors, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts. After the screening, a Q&A session will be conducted with the filmmakers in the theatre. An afterglow party will be held at Mr. B's (215 S. Main Street -- within walking distance of the theatre) to end the night’s activities. To submit a film for consideration in the festival, visit for guidelines. Submission is free. Screeners may be sent by DVD or online link.

[Program notes on next page]


Main Art Theatre, Royal Oak, MI - 7:30 p.m.
Pre-sale tickets $8 at, Door $10

FINAL LINEUP. Total running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes. In order of screening:

OVERCOME [trailer] - Team 10 Mile / Five Clover Films (00:50) (Michigan) (2009) Directed by Mike Madigan and Chris Lepley. Starring Vincent Rasnick, Dawn Bartley, Chris Lepley and Dave Durham. A story of trust and forgiveness as one couple tries to save their marriage. Completed for Project 21.

RUNWAYS & BUNKBEDS [trailer] – AxeFin Productions (03:07) (Michigan) (2010) Written and directed by Axel Harney. International male model, Luke Sebastian (Harney), lives a charmed life. But conflict arises when he thinks he is flying to Italy for Fashion Week. When he ends up with an atypical roommate, Fronk (Luke Richmond), and falls for a beautiful model named Molly (Monica Lee Percich), Luke is forced to look within and make decisions that might bring his charmed life to a halt.

FRESH START [documentary] - (06:03) (California) Directed by Brad “8.bliss” Erlandson. A quick and personal look into the life of a paraplegic ex-street musician.

THE RE-DEADENING [narrative] – Bombastic Entertainment (10:00) (Michigan) (2009) Directed by Brian Schoof. When a man finds his brother has returned from the grave to terrorize the living, he soon discovers slaying the undead isn't as easy as it seems. Starring Marc Pappas, Solid Schoof, and Brian Whisman.

TRY AGAIN [narrative] – Flim Flam Film (03:03) (Michigan) (2007) Directed by Denver Rochon. A married couple must decide whether or not to salvage their relationship after tragedy strikes their family. Starring Nick Moretti and Michelle Simasko.

DOCTOR REDDY [narrative] – Cheklich Enterprises (10:45) (Michigan) Written and directed by Diane Cheklich. Doctor Reddy is one strange dude. Witness his encounters with freaked out patients, go-go dancers, karaoke bars, and biker gangs. In other words, just another day in the life.

DANYELLE [narrative] – Five Clover Films (04:47) (Michigan) (2009) Written and directed by Mike Madigan. Starring Dawn Bartley. Danyelle’s thoughts on how to deal with a personal issue in her life evolve over the course of a day of work and personal reflection. Winner of “Best Cinematography” for MicroMinis at the 2009 Ferndale Film Festival.

PACKARD EMP [narrative] – Directed by Clark A. Eagling (11:41) (Michigan) A tiny crew of media majors attempt to capture a short film about a boy who doesn't know what freedom means and the girl that loves him.

THE GUEST ROOM [narrative] – Wolverine Films (10:05) (Michigan) (2009) Directed by Louis Kerman. May sees a mysterious little girl in the guest room of her home. Her husband, Dan, wants to move forward in their marriage. But ghosts from their past refuse to let them go -- until they’re both forced to confront their feelings over what happened.

SOLITUDE [narrative] – Nu-Wave Films (18:00) (Michigan) (2009) Directed by Robert Joseph Butler. Two abstract dramas intertwined in one short. The first involves a lonely woman, Marcia (Aphrodite Nikolovski), who is searching for a connection. Her isolation is elevated when she meets an offbeat slacker, Barry (Jacob Hodson). The second story explores the relationship between a beautiful woman, Andie (Sarah Benedict), and Barry. Both stories present a unique look at stardom, cinema, romance, broken dreams, and the film industry.

THE FARMER AND THE PHILOSPHER [documentary] – DETROIT LIVES! (07:40) (Michigan) (2009) Presented by DETROIT LIVES!, this documentary takes a positive look at Detroit's forward progress told through the prism of two different figures (Toby Barlow and Mark Covington) that are changing the city for the better. Shot, edited and animated by Andrea Adelman. Produced by Philip Lauri.

THE COMMANDANT [narrative] – Directed by Stephen Pell (12:38) (Michigan) (2009) Two Russian soldiers are trapped in Nazi occupied Poland with their wounded commanding officer during World War II.

THE MESSAGE [narrative] – Paradise Valley Media (09:40) (Michigan) (2009) A voice from the past unites a fragile trio of survivors coping with life after a catastrophic epidemic. Directed by Mike Zawacki. Written by Nancy Nall Derringer and Ron French. Starring Alora Catherine Smith, Rick Bobier, and Holly Smokovitz.

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