‘Regional Cinema’ spotlights independent filmmakers at Plaza Theatre

The Historic Plaza Theatre in downtown Miamisburg recently topped its goals of 42,000 attendees in its first three years since reopening on Christmas Day 2015. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
The Historic Plaza Theatre in downtown Miamisburg recently topped its goals of 42,000 attendees in its first three years since reopening on Christmas Day 2015. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Johnny Catalano, local filmmaker and owner of Catalano Film Co., is hosting an independent filmmaking showcase fittingly titled “Regional Cinema,” slated Saturday, March 12 at the Plaza Theatre in downtown Miamisburg.

Centered on artists from Dayton and Cincinnati, the event is a celebration of diversity and creativity, particularly what it means to be a filmmaker in Ohio.

Combined ShapeCaption
Johnny Catalano. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Johnny Catalano. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Johnny Catalano. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

“I’m trying to dispel the notion that you only have to be in Hollywood, New York or big coastal hubs for entertainment to be a filmmaker,” said Catalano, who studied film production at Bowling Green State University. “I think you can be a filmmaker anywhere. George Romero, a zombie filmmaker and one of my idols, lived in Pittsburgh. John Waters made a lot of his underground cinema in Baltimore.”

At a time when franchise blockbusters are still top of mind for Hollywood producers, independent film remains a viable vehicle for emotional, relatable and visceral storytelling. Catalano says there’s enough room for big budget fare and smaller, art house fare to co-exist, but the magnetism of the independent aesthetic is in a league of its own from deep within.

“I’m not trying to knock any films that are out today, but when you see, for instance, a Marvel film, you have a feeling it’s made by committee, people trying to please an audience, which is perfectly fine if you love those types of films,” said Catalano, an admirer of maverick director/screenwriters such as Paul Thomas Anderson and the Coen brothers. “But I’m one of those people who loves to watch a film and know somebody is pouring out their hearts, their emotions, their voice, on screen. I find that very powerful. I also like when I know who the director or writer is. You can feel a connection to that person in an odd way. You feel like you know them because of the art they give to the world.”

Explore5 reasons to see ‘Phantom’ at La Comedia

In addition to screening two 2022 short films by Vernard S. Fields (“Super Just Super,” and “Misread”), the event will feature the Ohio premiere of J.W. Cox’s 2021 short film “Chocolate Milk” and the official premiere of Catalano’s 2022 dark comedy “Funeral for Furmanski,” molded in the vein of legendary directors Robert Altman, John Cassavetes and Werner Herzog.

Combined ShapeCaption
Poster for "Funeral for Furmanski," co-written and directed by Johnny Catalano. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Poster for "Funeral for Furmanski," co-written and directed by Johnny Catalano. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Poster for "Funeral for Furmanski," co-written and directed by Johnny Catalano. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

“We want to really capture the local filmmaking community in the area, to highlight them, and give them a voice and a platform that just isn’t online on a computer or watching through Vimeo,” Catalano said. “Presenting these movies on the big screen feels like a reward for the filmmakers for all the hard work they put into their films. Having our event at the Plaza Theatre also brings the audience back to the 1930s, 1940s or 1950s when going to movies were an event.”

The evening will conclude with a Q&A with the filmmakers, which Catalano hopes will be an appealing networking opportunity for other budding artists.

“Whether you’re a fellow filmmaker or you want to get into filmmaking, this is a chance to meet people who are making films in the area,” he said. “Hopefully this event will encourage people to branch out, talk to us, and perhaps work with us in the future. Engagement is great. I’m looking forward to hearing what the audience asks about our films. It’ll be very exciting.”

HOW TO GO

What: “Regional Cinema”

When: Saturday, March 12 at 7 p.m.

Where: Plaza Theatre, 33 S. Main St., Miamisburg

Cost: $10; general seating.

Tickets: https://ticketing.useast.veezi.com/purchase/2256?siteToken=d21zzfg96311p5wrd9c4bazjg0

More info: https://www.facebook.com/regionalcinema

FYI: Some films may contain adult situations.

About the Author