Wauwatosa West High School Student Receives Opportunity of a Lifetime through Milwaukee Film’s Collaborative Cinema Project

July 21, 2009

Film production began recently on Milwaukee Film’s 2009 winning Collaborative Cinema screenplay, “Ward Three,” a screenplay written by Wauwatosa West High School student Natalie Mullins and chosen out of 50 entries to be produced into a short film that will debut at the 2009 Milwaukee Film Festival presented by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, taking place September 24 – October 4.


The film will be produced by the Milwaukee film community, utilizing the finest production equipment and crew available, and shooting will take place July 24-26 at the Milwaukee County Parks administration building, located at 9480 Watertown Plank Road. “Ward Three” will have its world premiere during the Milwaukee Film Festival at The Milwaukee Show, a Gala screening of locally made short films presented at the Oriental Theatre on October 1.


“I was really excited to be chosen as the winner of this project,” said Mullins. “It’s awesome to see your vision come to life through film, and I’m just amazed at how much work everyone puts into the making of a single scene.”


Milwaukee Film’s Collaborative Cinema provides Wisconsin high school students the incredible opportunity to learn about the entire filmmaking process directly from film professionals through a unique series of workshops, a screenwriting contest, the production of the short film and its premiere at an international film festival. The Collaborative Cinema program, led by Project Director Mark Metcalf, local celebrity and actor (“Seinfeld,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), strives to develop the filmmakers of the future in Wisconsin.


“This program does a phenomenal job of bringing together gifted mentors who are willing to share their talents with young people who are eager to learn about the filmmaking process,” said Metcalf. “Together we are building a film community here that works as a collective that supports each other.”


The production crew on “Ward Three” includes many respected and recognized film professionals, including Nick Langholff (“Feed the Fish,” producer), director Jason Satterfield (“The Legend Trip,” director), and director of photography, Jimmy Sammarco (“Song Sung Blue,” cinematographer.)


The film shoot budget is nearly $100,000, and the production is made possible through local support and donations from Lee Ernst, Paul Bodi of Bodi Company, North American Camera, Electric Sun, Independent Edit, the Milwaukee County Parks Association, dedicated high school students, and commercial, feature, and documentary professionals.


In addition, the Herzfeld Foundation provided the Collaborative Cinema program a $10,000 grant.


About Collaborative Cinema:


The Collaborative Cinema program begins in the fall each year with a call for entries from local high school students to enter the Milwaukee Film Screenwriting Contest. The top 50 ideas are selected by the professional filmmakers who act as mentors for the program.


Those 50 students are invited to attend an all-day workshop on a Saturday in January at Discovery World. The workshop is an intensive introductory course in screenwriting wherein the students are taught the ins and outs of screenwriting by professionals who give them the tools to turn their idea into a screenplay for a short film.


The students submit a first draft of their screenplay and from there, 15 scripts are selected for a second workshop at Discovery World involving two-on-one mentoring and the students having the chance to delve further into their script and screenplay idea.


Following the second screenplay workshop is a film production workshop at Discovery World that invites any interested student to come and learn about filmmaking through hands-on demonstrations about film production and film equipment.


The winner is chosen by a panel of 10 professional filmmakers who have acted as mentors throughout the program.


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