Perf. Arts

Independent film director calls the shots during filming at Museum of Wisconsin Art



By KRISTYN ADAMS - Special to TimeOut

July 10, 2014


WEST BEND - Grand works of Carl von Marr and exhibiting artists, such as John Steuart Curry (oils on canvas) and Carl Corey (Hudson photographer), were vivid backdrops as art in film unfolded recently at the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

An artist of a different medium, Milwaukee independent film director Frankie Latina called the shots for two scenes of “Snap Shot” as they lensed at the prime location.

“We’ve had a few in-house videos, but no third-party projects have ever filmed here before. It’s very exciting,” said Graeme Reid, director of collections-exhibitions. “It keeps adding to raising the museum’s profile.

“They’re going to do a couple of exterior shots of the museum in addition to some dialogue in the main gallery. Hopefully, people will see the film and want to know more.”

The two scenes necessitated about 30 actors and a film crew. A conference room was used as a green room for actors and crew members. Latina spoke softly but assertively as preparations were tended and talent was on standby.

He said enthusiastically the film was being recorded in lesser used, more expensive 16mm film.

“I have two directors of photography and they both have the only 16mm film cameras in the Midwest. One in Chicago, the other in Milwaukee. It’s great - they’re both here.”

Director of photography Marcin Szocinski of Chicago is a native of Poland who has been in the states for 12 years.

“I do everything in life by 17 years so I’ll be here for another five years,” he said before talking shop in the here and now.

“From my perspective, this museum is perfect mostly because of lighting,” Szocinski said. As he strolled the upper level hall, he described it as the best feature for filming.

“We have big windows that face west,” he said. “At this time of day with overcast skies, the lighting is nice and soft and it bounces from the east-side walls.”

Co-producer Randy Russell of Milwaukee agreed and said museums are usually a good place to shoot because the environment is designed carefully for artistic purpose.

Reid had fun helping with the project. In addition to helping supervise, he did some set-dressing work for the film’s director by carefully taping prop artwork to the walls in accordance with specific script requirements. Reid smiled when asked about the plot.

“I believe a gentleman buys a camera at an antique store and it still has a roll of film inside,” he said. “After he develops the film, he discovers the storyline of a murder. He has to solve the murder based on what is on the film he finds.”

Interior and exterior footage of the museum will frame a substantial length of “Snap Shot.”

“If people who are sitting in a theater at Sundance (Film Festival) and suddenly there’s an exterior shot of the Museum of Wisconsin Art, they’re going to say, ‘What the heck is that? Where is that museum?’” Reid said.

Sophie Pipitone of Thiensville was on set with her dad, Nick Pipitone who was helping his friend, Latina by being an extra in the film.

Nick Pipitone also co-wrote the music theme for Latina’s first film, “Modus Operandi” which was a Sundance Film Festival entry.

Latina plans to finish “Snap Shot” by August. The project will be entered into the Sundance Film Festival in the fall.

“I’ve never been here before. I love art anyway, so being behind the scenes is like a whole cultural experience,” Sophie Pipitone said.

Milwaukee actor Richard Halverson portrayed a nasty character named Mr. O’Neil, but the role must be a stretch.

Halverson was a friendly chap and who was more than happy to talk the genre. “The man who runs the camera is the main talent,” Halverson said.