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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cinema: Tucson

    Cinema: Tucson

    “”If you rearrange the letters of ‘Mustang Ironheart,’ I think it spells out ‘pretty decent movie.’ I think ‘awesome’ is in there, but I think ‘pretty decent’ actually rounds it out a little bit better,”” Mike Treveloni joked.

    You might get an indication from Treveloni’s light-hearted quip that “”Mustang Ironheart”” is actually, well, a pretty decent movie. Treveloni and his longtime friend Keith Mackney, Tucson residents and the movie’s co-writers, were fans of “”really bad, direct-to-video”” 1980s and ’90s movies. “”Ironheart”” is loosely based on a graphic novel of the same name and was created as a bit of homage to the B-movie genre.

    “”We’re both film students and writers, and we’ve taken all the classes and seen all the bad movies and what you’re not supposed to do,”” Treveloni said. “”So we kind of interpreted that our own way where we’re going to do all the stuff we’re not supposed to do and try to make it amusing.””

    Watching movies is how many Tucson filmmakers become inspired to make their own creations. John Wiehn and Charles Post were fans of the horror genre but felt it had fallen victim to its own clichǸs and created a film club at the University of Arizona. The goal of the club, PCW Productions, was to put a new creative spin on the old elements.

    “”You know, where you have the hero running up the stairs instead of the front door, or they have a loaded gun and instead they pick up a bat,”” Wiehn said. “”There are a lot of elements of classic horror films that I’m just like, ‘Wow, that’s stupid.’ “”

    The end result of three years of hard work was “”Numbered with the Dead,”” a horror film Wiehn and Post describe as a “”blood-soaked, action-packed tale of murder and vengeance.””

    Besides a bevy of young potential filmmakers, Tucson also provides an adaptative landscape that can be used in variety of ways. Action scenes in “”Ironheart”” meant to take place in Japan were shot on Mount Lemmon and given some “”creative editing.””

    “”It was really nice because it gave that part of the film just a giant scope,”” Mackney said. “”It’s not all, oh, they shot in some guy’s backyard.””

    “”Which we also did,”” Treveloni said, “”but you probably wouldn’t be able to tell if you see (the movie).””

    Post and Wiehn also shot around the UA campus and included locations like Marana, Phoenix and Red Rock, among others. They said the geographic variety gave their film a more universal feel because the multitude of locations makes it hard to pinpoint the setting as one specific place.

    “”I think there’s such a variety of stuff. Some things you’ll see in there and be like, where is that? And it’s Tucson and no one has any idea,”” Post said.

    It might seem puzzling that so much film could come out of Tucson. California and the glittering lights of Hollywood seem to be where most moviemakers tend to head. However, Mackney and Treveloni said it doesn’t really matter where you make the movie as long as it’s a quality one.

    When you look at some of the biggest names in Hollywood right now, most got their starts with cult hits of their own. Small shorts and indie movies like “”Evil Dead”” turned Sam Raimi into a millionaire and Bruce Campbell into … Bruce Campbell, Wiehn said.

    “”You can never tell. When you set out to make a movie, you don’t know what people’s response will be,”” he said.

    The most nerve-wracking aspect of filming a movie may be the end of the process: screening the film for an audience, which will stare and judge and hopefully display whatever emotions you were trying to hit. Sometimes parts hit better than you thought they would, making it all worthwhile; others fall completely flat. Wiehn and Post are hoping for the best out of their screening of the film, set for Saturday in the Modern Languages building, Room 350.

    “”I think regardless of how people react to it, we’ve accomplished our goal of creating an independent film, so we’re happy with what we’ve done and hopefully people like it. Even if they don’t, that’s not going to crush our dream,”” Post said.

    “”Ironheart”” was screened at The Screening Room in February. After positive reactions and subsequent minor edits, the movie is now ready for the world outside of Tucson, with a DVD being released to local retailers and Amazon May 8.

    “”It’s kind of like, wow, we actually made a real movie and you can go online and buy it. It’s not like I’m handing you a VHS of my movie in the backyard. The ideal story for all of us is that it’s a good stepping stone and hopefully somebody likes what they see,”” Mackney said.

    Plus, even if no big studios want to pick up “”Ironheart”” and turn it into the next “”Spiderman”” franchise, Mackney and Treveloni are resourceful enough to make their own stepping stones. They’ve got a line of sequels already planned out – and wacky action figures aren’t completely out of the picture.

    “”We planned it so far ahead. I’m not comparing this to ‘Police Academy,’ but I’ve always wondered how did they get so many films in that series. Let’s plan for that many movies,”” Treveloni joked.

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