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Torre Catalano, writer/director: MILWAUKEE

February 26, 2015
Torre Catalano wrote and directed MILWAUKEE

Torre Catalano directed and co-wrote (with the “Milwaukee Collective”) MILWAUKEE

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of Milwaukee, from concept to financing.

“Milwaukee” came about at a dinner party with all the actors. Most of them are on these great shows, but in between seasons they were getting antsy and wanting to keep being creative. After a few bottles of wine, we decided that we should all make something together. In Hollywood you can fall into the trap very easily of just waiting for work to fall in your lap, rather than taking the bull by the horns. We decided that we didn’t need to wait for permission from a studio or agency, because sitting at that table we had everything you need to make a film: Actors, a director, a writer, a producer, and talented people who would support it. We decided to set a deadline and move forward before we could think of a reason to back out. A script was written 2 weeks later and we were on set shooting a month after that.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of Milwaukee. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

For me, it’s thrilling and terrifying to premiere any piece of art. The point of creating is to share it with as many people as you can and try to ignite something – whether it be a discussion, a controversy, a change, or just to inspire others. The very nature of creating lends itself to sharing, yet it’s very easy to be hesitant about that sharing. My fellow producers know that I have a love/ hate relationship with screenings. I’ve been known to not even attend my own screenings in the past, just because I feel like I have already learned everything I need to from the film, and sitting through it again can become difficult. Though Cinequest is an amazing festival that really supports indie filmmakers, so I’m really looking forward to attending that screening and seeing the reaction from attendees.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making Milwaukee?

The best experience was the flexibly. We didn’t have a studio breathing down our next, so we were be able to be nimble and change directions on a dime. On several occasions we’d shoot a scene and feel it wasn’t working. So I’d grab the actors, we’d find a corner to hunker down in, and we’d all rewrite it together so that it was the best possible setting for the
characters to thrive in. That was the most creative, rewarding and collaborative thing I have ever been a part of. The difficult thing was shooting nights. We started every day at 7pm and didn’t finish until 7am. By the end of shooting we were all zombies

image1 (1)4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

Milwaukee is one of the most honest films you can see. Each scene and each line was workshopped directly with the actor to pull out the most real and honest performance. The actors pulled a lot from their own lives and they were incredibly brave in doing that. Because we had the flexibility of being an indie film, we were able to re-shoot and re-work any scenes
that didn’t feel 100% honest. We tackle some pretty hard topics about sex and monogamy, and come at them full-speed without apology. This is an independent film in every sense of the word. We raised the money ourselves, we found the locations and props ourselves, we came up with the story ourselves and we filmed it ourselves. The actors doubled as set decorators and wardrobe assistants when not filming. It is truly indie, and I’m so proud of that.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for Milwaukee. Give us your acceptance speech.

I couldn’t possibly even wrap my head around that. Though when it comes to Oscar speeches, my favorite of all time is Joe Pesci’s for “Goodfellas.” He stepped up to the microphone and simply said “It was my pleasure.” Then he walked away. Awards for art seem silly to me, since art is such a subjective thing. But if one is ever faced with accepting an award, I would recommend they have the same humble delivery as Mr. Pesci.

See MILWAUKEE at Cinequest!
View the Trailer!
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