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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Danny Trejo and Frankie Latina produced a video to raise money for Latina's latest effort, "Snap Shot."

Milwaukee filmmaker will let Danny Trejo kill you


For independent filmmakers, one of the hardest parts of the project is raising the funds to get the production done.

Milwaukee filmmaker Frankie Latina is trying to raise money for his latest effort "Snap Shot" and he recruited "Machete" actor Danny Trejo to help. For $5,000, you can be killed by Trejo in the film.

The movie is about a fashion photographer who gets more than he bargained for when a roll of film in a used camera contains sinister imagery. I stole that description from Latina's Kickstarter page.

Kickstarter is a website where creative people attempt to get support for their productions, whether it is film or some other medium. Latina has already raised more than $15,000 towards his $74,500 goal. If he gets the funding he is looking for, shooting will start sometime this spring.

One of the great things about Kickstarter is that average Joes can get in contact with producers and support their efforts. Often the creators offer one-of-a-kind rewards and items in return for your support. For instance, for $45, Latina will send you a 45 rpm vinyl soundtrack of "Snap Shot" with music by Milwaukee's Mark Borchardt and lyrics by Nikki Johnson. For the five grand, you can be a victim in the film.

"For me, cinema enables audiences to escape into a better – or at least more interesting – reality. My work is inspired in equal parts by my upbringing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with its desolate streets and abandoned buildings and unique color palate, and by the films that have most transported me: 'exploitation' films, French and Japanese New Wave and 1970s Hollywood," Latina wrote on his Kickstarter page.

"Story lines and concepts come to me from a combination of life experience, focused daydreaming and meditation on the work of photographers like Helmut Newton and film-makers such as Jean-Pierre Melville, John Cassavetes, Stanley Kubrick, Jørgen Leth, Francis Ford Coppola and Wong Kar-Wai," he wrote.

I asked Latina how he got Trejo involved in the project.

"For my first film 'Modus Operandi' I assembled a group of investors at Milwaukee's most famous pizzeria – Pizza Man – known for their cream cheese artichoke pizza and served up a handful of manila envelopes," Latina said.

"I said, 'Well, I've got good news and I've got bad news. The good news is Danny Trejo's coming to town,' while I'm handing out the 'Machete' star's headshot and pages and pages of his IMDb credits. 'The bad news is we only have three days to raise the money to get him here.'"

He went on to tell me that after filming was over for "Modus Operandi" Danny's son Gilbert and he hadn't met before, but a chance encounter changed that.

"Months later I met this guy wearing a '70s Aztec jacket before a screening in Beverly Hills and struck up a conversation only to discover we shared the same taste in films and fashion. And then 10 minutes later, Danny walks up and is like, 'Frankie, let me introduce you to my son Gilbert.' We've been working together ever since."

MILWAUKEE SPORTS HISTORY: Building upon the success of "Remembering Al," a special Dennis Krause produced using his interviews with former Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 32 will launch the show "The Al McGuire Tapes" set to air tonight at 9 p.m.

Krause will host, using segments from interviews with the late McGuire done in 1991 and '92, and includes rare film of the coach wearing a microphone in practice and games in 1972.

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