Now through March, Nitehawk, in partnership with Tribeca Film Festival, is showcasing independent films from local filmmakers in its series Local Color. Tonight, Local Color (this time independently of TFF) screens Williamsburg-based director Hank Bedford’s first full-length feature, Dixieland.
On Tuesday, I went to another Local Color screening, Men Go to Battle, by New York-based directory Zachary Treitz. The movie—made over the course of three years on a shoe-string budget—is gorgeous. Treitz and his Brooklyn-based crew were present for a post-screening Q&A and revealed just how grassroots the making of the movie was, rendering the final product all the more impressive.
The film revolves around the lives of two brothers, Henry and Francis, whose quiet lives are disrupted due to the Civil War. One of them is arrogant, though lovable and outgoing, while the other is quiet and obliging—and he’s the one who goes to battle. We follow the brothers’ correspondence as well as their eventual reunion. The camera closely follows each character throughout the movie, so that you feel as though you’re seamlessly living their stripped-down, rugged lives right along with them.
In the Q&A Treitz revealed one of his exceptionally savvy money saving tactics: rather than outfit an entire battlefield of soldiers, Treitz joined a real troop of historical re-enactors, meaning all the historical gear never had to be paid for and the highly accurate battlefield scenes were already happening anyway, Treitz just captured it on film. As I watched, I couldn’t imagine how, otherwise, on his budget, he could have afforded such detailed and elaborate scenes from war. It’s a lesson in tenacity and creative thinking for anyone, young filmmaker or no.
Tonight, Williamsburg-based director Hank Bedford screens his first feature in the next installment of Local Color, Dixieland, which captures the love story between a stripper and a young man recently released from jail, facing few prospects for the future. Bedford, who was an associate producer of Foxcatcher, will be present for another post-screening Q&A.
Find all of Nitehawk’s Local Color Screenings here.