In addition to the all-around excellence of the Milwaukee Film Festival and frequent screenings of time-tested favorites and cult classics (cough!) at the city’s various neighborhood theaters, the state of cinema in Milwaukee is currently in a great place because local writers, directors, and videographers are plying their skills to make feature films.
After experiencing some success with short films and a documentary about Dead Man’s Carnival, Casey Malone has become the latest Milwaukee filmmaker to finish a feature. Following a great reception at its world premiere in the Chattanooga Film Festival last month, Malone’s film, Lesser Beasts, will get a belated hometown screening on May 10, when it’s shown at Times Cinema.
The ambitious feature that promises “Four stories. One mystery” was shot in and around metro Milwaukee much of last year, with some scenes being filmed in forests in Oconomowoc. Beyond writing, filming, and directing Lesser Beasts, Malone also produced, edited, and scored the entire project himself.
“The film is kind of a high-wire balancing act of intersecting narratives, so every frame of the finished product had so much thought put into it that the fact I survived it relatively unscathed is a minor miracle,” Malone tells Milwaukee Record.
Though he did the glut of the work, Malone also recognizes the execution of his vision would not be possible without the contributions of actors Anieya Walker, Alice Wilson, Josh B. Bryon, Mario Andre Alberts, Kerric Stephens, and Randy Allen. Malone describes his debut feature as such: “Four strangers’ lives are entangled in a surreal and atmospheric journey to solve the puzzle they have all unwittingly become a part of.”
Milwaukee area audiences are invited to be part of the “atmospheric journey” at Thursday night’s Times Cinema screening. The special one-night showing of Lesser Beasts begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.