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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

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In Movies & TV

A scene from the short film "Prone."

Milwaukee makes the silver screen with "Prone"


Filmmaker Christopher Carson Emmons, a longtime Milwaukeean who recently moved to Los Angeles, has another film in the works. Last fall, OnMilwaukee.com reported on his Bridget Jones-esque feature, "Serial Daters Anonymous," and now he is poised to release a Milwaukee-made short film, "Prone."

"'Prone' tells two parallel stories that thematically overlap, both of them having to do with people trying to reach their goals but at a cost that threatens their own values and relationships," says Emmons, who wrote and directed the film.

Sam Kozel produced "Prone."

The main character Michelle (played by Kristin Anderson) is a painter who is given a chance to showcase her work at a large gallery owned by Howard (played by Mark Metcalf).

Metcalf is also a former Milwaukeean who is best known for his role as Douglas C. Neidermeyer in 1978's "Animal House" and for playing "The Maestro" on "Seinfeld" and "The Master" from "Buffy The Vampire Slayer."

He also owned and operated a restaurant in Theinsville, Libby Montana, for about a decade.

"Working with Mark was a joy, everyone knows how high he set the bar for antagonists on film after 'Animal House' was released, and he continues to craft memorable performances to this day," says Emmons. "We had one rehearsal with Mark before filming, and he brought all the lines I'd written tailored to his own voice. He really cares about his work, and brought a lot to the table. The crew lit up when he was on set."

The other character, played by Sean Foran, is a pill addict in treatment named Ryan who is in love with a girl in his support group who doesn't feel the same. He tries to cope with this rejection by resorting to other more desperate forms of intimacy until his self worth becomes depleted.

"Both intersecting stories deal with the lengths people will go to get what they want out of life, and the consequences that come from the choices made in getting there," says Emmons.

"Prone" was shot primarily in Milwaukee and features notable landmarks such as Colectivo by the Lake, The Wicked Hop, The Hilton Garden Inn, Riverwest Public House and the big red lighthouse by the Summerfest grounds.

"We had an intense three day consecutive schedule to get the whole film done," he says. "We shot at the end of February 2013 into the first few days of March in heavy snow."

The film features an original musical score by Milwaukee-based music duo "Kiings." It was funded by Milwaukee's Brewery Credit Union.

Emmons was born in Eau Claire and moved to Milwaukee when he was 4 years old. His father, Scott Emmons, works at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Peck School of the Arts, where he is currently serving as dean.

In 2010, Emmons graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BA in film / video/ new media.

"I'm currently in pre-production on several features and a short, while completing post- production on "Serial Daters Anonymous," a dramedy of sorts that I also shot in Milwaukee," he says.

Emmons originally saw the film as a "farewell to Milwaukee." He moved to Los Angeles just two weeks before filming. However, because of his desire to share Milwaukee culture with a wider audience, he has continued to shoot in Brew City.

"There's a very different texture here than other places where films usually take place like New York or Los Angeles or even Chicago," he says.

To view the trailer of "Prone" go here or the entire film is available for online viewing here.

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