With creativity, hard work and determination, it doesn't take much money to create a beautiful movie, Baraboo native and film director John Mossman said Friday.
He was in town to show a rough cut of his newest work "Into the Wake" during a private showing for some of the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County students who helped with shooting the film last year in the area.
Mossman teaches directing at Chicago's Columbia College. He has written and produced a variety of films and has co-founded his own theater company, The Artistic Home. "Into the Wake" needs some more editing, color balancing and work on its soundtrack before he will be ready to take the movie on the film festival circuit, Mossman said.
In the film, the lead character Kyle, played by co-writer and actor Tim Miller, is living under an assumed name in Chicago after fleeing his rural home in the aftermath of a conflict between his family and another clan. A stranger’s cryptic phone call draws him back to "the hills and riverbanks of Wisconsin" into a cycle of vengeance and counter-vengeance.
The filmmakers were drawn to Sauk County by the contrast between the metal and urban life of Chicago and the "mystical" atmosphere of the local landscape and Wisconsin River, Miller said.
Because Mossman has connections to the area, they could find great locations and they also hired some local acting talent.
After the showing, "Into the Wake" won loud applause and praise from members of the audience for how good it looked even in an incomplete version.
Mossman said the film cost about $61,000 to make using compact digital video cameras and a good deal of in-kind support to obtain some of the locations. The cast and crew even got paid something, except for student interns, he said.
"If nothing else, you can make a film for not a lot of money," Mossman said. "We have one with really high production values. It’s on the water, there are action scenes."
UW-Baraboo alum Nenad Jakovljevic said he was a member of the campus Film Club last year when students were offered the opportunity to work on the film. He learned making a movie is hard work, requiring him to hold the boom of a microphone and remain completely silent during a take.
"It was very, very intense, I don’t know how they do it," he said. "It was just an amazing experience."
Assistant Professor Frances Auld — who advises the Film Club — recruited the students and helped with makeup during filming. She said participating in shooting a film was a great learning experience for the students.
"John Mossman was kind enough to let them learn how to do some things," she said. "The actors were kind enough to explain things. So the students were really learning the whole time."
Mossman said he drew inspiration to become an actor and filmmaker from experiences at Gordon L. Willson Elementary School and at the Al. Ringling Theatre.
"I was an actor there in 1971 in ‘The Music Man’ with the Baraboo Theatre Guild," he said.
Mossman said he was initially reluctant to act, but his mother dragged him into performing. He was hooked after seeing the theater and interacting with the people there.
"I hope I make it full circle and premier my film there," Mossman said.
"I just love to tell stories."
On the ‘Net
• Information about "Into the Wake" and other Mike Mossman productions is available on his website: http://mossmanfilms.com.