Home » Featured » Meet filmmaker and writer Tony K. HallThe St. Norbert College graduate talks filmmaking and ‘Lonesome’ his latest feature length project to be screened at the Tarlton during Labor Day weekend

Meet filmmaker and writer Tony K. Hall
The St. Norbert College graduate talks filmmaking and ‘Lonesome’ his latest feature length project to be screened at the Tarlton during Labor Day weekend

By Freddy Moyano
Tony K. Hall can call Milwaukee his hometown, but a piece of his heart, he says, forever rests in De Pere.

Hall still remembers with a thankful spirit his times at St. Norbert College, where he pursued a Philosophy degree (1998-2002).

“Most of my favorite professors have now gone on to retire. But, if I took multiple classes with any professors reading this, or took time to reach out to you post-graduation, you should know how much I appreciated your mentoring and the time we spent together” said Hall.

He said he was able to make significant connections during his Norbertine academic chapter.

Acquaintances, such as his longtime friend, David Vargas, contributed “heavily” to the making of Lonesome, his latest feature film.

Slated to screen for the general audience at The Tarlton Theatre in downtown Green Bay September 4, it’s part of the MLC Scene Awards’ three-day indie film festival gala.

“[David] Vargas, whom I have known the longest of anyone, acted as the hot air balloon operator [during Lonesome] and served as production assistant, Foley Artist, helping immensely” Hall said.

Hall said his 65-minute black and white French New Wave film, featuring many known streets and places in and around Milwaukee, initially started as a silent short and slowly expanded into feature length.

Hall blames the scope creep on the beauty of “The Cream City.”

“I wanted to do a film that could be filmed on the cheap, have a flexible schedule, have all the resources needed right around where I live and also be a film that would seem to have a simple concept, yet be very deep and romantic. Milwaukee has such stunning architecture” Hall said.

He said his admiration for Milwaukee and camera work also led him to complete an unreleased short called The Historical Statues of Milwaukee – a mockumentary, still a work in progress.

Hall’s real passion is writing scripts – he has several in progress.

David Vargas (left) with Tony Hall receiving one of six awards, namely Best Midwest-Made Production, in Little Rock, Arkansas in January during the Scene Awards Gala. Submitted MLC Productions Photo

“I always had a passion for creative writing, and along with the encouragement of many great teachers I would get great feedback whenever I had a class in college or high school that would have a small portion dedicated to either poetry, short stories, or journaling. In college I had always wanted to take the time to write a screenplay, but it wasn’t until my 30s that I finally created a good working space in my home to be able to devote my time to writing screenplays” said Hall.

Part of his passion for writing has to do with his fervor for classic industry filmmakers such as Jean Renoir, Fritz Lang, Yasijuro Ozu, Orson Welles, Luis Bunuel, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Demy, Wong Kar-Wai or Guy Maddin.

This, he said, started after his family moved to New Berlin, where he completed middle school and high school.

“As an avid watcher of movies, in middle school I set out to watch every film nominated for an Academy Award in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay going all the way back to the year 1940, giving myself a good base knowledge of classic cinema” Hall said.
He said that while he was at New Berlin West High School, the American Film Institute released its 100 Greatest Movies of All Time, subsequently followed by its 100 greatest thrillers and 100 greatest comedies.

“I immediately went on a quest to watch every film nominated and completed these lists by the time I reached my senior year. From watching all of these films, others would say that I am a classic film buff,” Hall said.

Q & A with Tony K. Hall

Why should people from the Green Bay area come watch ‘Lonesome?’

It is a delightful film.

A scene in Lonesome featuring lead cast Amber DeRuyter (Roxie) and Zach McLain (Guy). In the story, Guy is struggling to find his ideal partner until his roommate (Eric Halverson) suggests a trip to the beach where is meets Roxie. Lonesome will screen on Sunday September 3 at 1:00 pm General admission cost is $20, which grants a full day access to this and other screenings running from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. More info on mlcawards.com/galascreenings. Rue Du Port Photo

It isn’t just for indie film fans – it has been enjoyed by a wide range of audiences.

It is an extremely relatable movie, and most feedback has expressed just how surprised they were by how likable and good of a film it is.

What are some of the qualities you like in actors? Would someone who has little to no acting experience fit in your productions?

I really appreciate an actor’s ability to improvise and have imagination for circumstances they are put in.

I like working with people who have a lot of experience, but I also like to work with people who have little or limited experience.

Some of the film theory that has influenced me allows for those with limited experience to still get into the psychology of the moment, and I believe the films that I work on allow for a cohesiveness along a wide spectrum of experience.

Someone with limited experience will fit in my productions.

What are some words of advice to people who are thinking of filming a short or a feature in this progressively more affordable DSLR era?

Filming might seem more affordable with a DSLR, but editing will be challenging.

It will take a small village to complete your film no matter how big or small.

A special thank-you to Patrick Beck who cleaned up a lot of logos in the background and also did all the visual effects.

A special thank-you to Nick Daniel who did the sound editing and completely sound-scraped the film.

A special thank-you to Jake Wollner who is not only credited with the cinematography and a as a co-producer, but he also did the final fine cutting and color grading.

Do you have any ties to Green Bay?
I have a multitude of friends in the Green Bay area.

I hope they can make it out to see Lonesome at the Tarlton September 4th.

I am a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan.

I have had the special opportunity to meet Aaron Rodgers in a rather unique setting – I helped induct him as a member into my fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon at St. Norbert College.

You can find news stories on the internet about this event and occurrence.

I also had the opportunity to serve a very key role in the induction ceremony.

After the Green Bay screening of Lonesome, which closes a busy year in the festival circuit for you (Beloit, Weyauwega, Arkansas…), where can people watch your film?

Big Announcement! Lonesome has received a distribution deal.

Thanks to Random Media and 1091 Pictures, Lonesome will have a wide release date of October 10 when it will be available to rent or buy on major streaming platforms.

In particular, Amazon Prime and AppleTV/iTunes.

We are also looking at additional platforms including Vudu, Redbox+, Fandango, GooglePlay, and Tubi.
The screening at the Tarlton September 4th could potentially be the last opportunity for anyone to see Lonesome in the way it is meant to be seen – in a movie theater!

Freddy Moyano is a film producer, entrepreneur, actor, critic and voice-over artist based in Green Bay. Follow Freddy on instagram @freddymoyanoofficial

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