Michael Holloway

Local Filmmakers Shooting Screwball Crime Caper

Milwaukee filmmakers are fundraising to finish their indie flick.

By - Jul 1st, 2021 01:46 pm

Corridor. Image provided by the filmmakers.

What would you do if you thought you witnessed a murder?

If you’re Gordon Hawkins, the lead character in a film currently under production called “Corridor”, you see an opportunity to finally prove your worth as you embark on a journey during a single night in Milwaukee.

“Corridor” is an indie film co-written by Jonathon Olsen, Zach Erdmann and Martin Kaszubowski, a team of local, long-time film collaborators. It’s a story that Olsen, a UW-Milwaukee film graduate, has been workshopping for almost eight years, but could never quite get right. In 2018, Olsen teamed up with his current co-writers and the idea was finalized.

In the film, Fates intertwine and characters clash as an eclectic cast of oddballs navigate a possible murder and more.

Starring in the role of Hawkins is Wes Tank, a Milwaukee artist behind the media company TankThink. Some may recognize him from his viral videos where he spits Dr. Seuss rhymes over Dr. Dre beats. 

“I’ve known Wes for quite a while now and that part was written for him,” Olsen says.

Tank’s character Hawkins witnesses the aforementioned crime while working as an overnight security guard. Olsen drew upon his personal experience as a security guard while creating the character.

“It was interesting, because it felt like you were living in an alternate universe,” Olsen said of his security guard days. “You would sleep all day, and my shifts were 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. You were alone for the entire eight hours, just left to your own devices.”

Olsen describes the film as a caper, which is a subgenre of crime fiction where one or more crimes are perpetrated by the main characters in plain view of the audience.

“It’s kind of a mix of ‘70s paranoia movies and earlier slapstick stuff,” Olsen says. “The movie is actually like an ensemble piece. It starts with Gordon but we start following other stories.”

“Corridor” is filmed entirely in Milwaukee, and while the city isn’t explicitly mentioned by name, viewers are likely to recognize some iconic backdrops.

“We went out of our way to pick locations that are very rich in character and that add texture to the movie,” Olsen says. “It’s about a city in transition as its trying to figure out what it is.”

Olsen is particularly thrilled with the film’s use of the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, which was shot as the exterior for the building that Hawkins works at.

“It was a treat to shoot at the Memorial,” Olsen says. “It makes everything look better just having it onscreen.”

There’s also some footage shot at the popular burger joint Nite Owl.

“The movie takes place all over one night, so it’s especially about people of the night and that kind of parallel universe that happens,” Olsen says. “So I couldn’t help having a giant neon sign that says Nite Owl in the movie.”

Olsen and the rest of the cast and crew are about halfway through filming, with about another 20 to 25 days left of shooting. They are currently raising an additional $2,000 to finish the movie. Those funds will be used to make one of the biggest set pieces of the entire film, keeping production as true to Olsen’s original vision as possible. This scene will involve mobile set pieces and caustic lighting that will play out in a visually stimulating representative of a moment when Hawkins has a spiritual self-realization. Olsen explains what he hopes to accomplish with that scene in a video on his Vimeo page.

If all goes according to plan, Olsen and his crew will finish filming in the Fall, with the aim of finishing the film in the summer of 2022 and then premiering it in film festivals in 2023. To support the film and become a night owl yourself, you can make a contribution to their online fundraiser.

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