Independent filmmaking fundraiser at Plaza Theatre

The Plaza Theatre in downtown Miamisburg. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF PHOTO

Combined ShapeCaption
The Plaza Theatre in downtown Miamisburg. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF PHOTO

Screening of classic horror film ‘Night of the Living Dead’ slated May 26.

Johnny Catalano, local filmmaker and owner of Catalano Film Co., encourages the community to support regional independent filmmaking Thursday, May 26 at the Plaza Theatre in Miamisburg.

Catalano, currently raising funds for his latest film, “Sunday Dinner,” is hosting a 6 p.m. screening of George A. Romero’s iconic 1968 horror classic “Night of the Living Dead.”

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In the late 1960s, fledgling filmmaker George A. Romero banded together with a group of friends to produce "Night of the Living Dead," one of the earliest and most important zombie films of all time. Although the film was controversial at the time due to its gory special effects, it would later be added to the National Film Registry.

Credit: Image Ten

In the late 1960s, fledgling filmmaker George A. Romero banded together with a group of friends to produce "Night of the Living Dead," one of the earliest and most important zombie films of all time. Although the film was controversial at the time due to its gory special effects, it would later be added to the National Film Registry.

Credit: Image Ten

Combined ShapeCaption
In the late 1960s, fledgling filmmaker George A. Romero banded together with a group of friends to produce "Night of the Living Dead," one of the earliest and most important zombie films of all time. Although the film was controversial at the time due to its gory special effects, it would later be added to the National Film Registry.

Credit: Image Ten

Credit: Image Ten

“I love and admire what ‘Night of the Living Dead’ represents for me as a regional filmmaker,” said Catalano, who studied film production at Bowling Green State University. “I love the black and white cinematography, which reminds me of ‘The Twilight Zone.’ The film also has a comedic edge to it as well, which I’ve always appreciated.”

As a budding filmmaker, Catalano admires Romero’s ability to create in a landscape removed from Hollywood or New York City. Most of Romero’s films were shot in Pittsburgh, where he attended Carnegie Mellon University.

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Director George A. Romero died Sunday, July 16, 2017. He was 77. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Credit: Kevin Winter

Director George A. Romero died Sunday, July 16, 2017. He was 77.  (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Credit: Kevin Winter

Combined ShapeCaption
Director George A. Romero died Sunday, July 16, 2017. He was 77. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Credit: Kevin Winter

Credit: Kevin Winter

“George Romero was in a completely different realm from people from Hollywood or New York City,” Catalano said. “He had a film family that kind of followed him throughout Pittsburgh. He never really broke into the Hollywood system. The majority of his films were produced independently.”

Explore‘Regional Cinema’ spotlights independent filmmakers at Plaza Theatre

Produced by Erica Bock and written and directed by Catalano, “Sunday Dinner” tells the story of Rob, a young con artist in Ohio, who owes a lot of people a lot of money. He has nowhere else to turn besides his estranged older sister, Betsy. When Rob visits Betsy at her trailer unannounced on a cold night, he is surprised to discover his sister has an important guest for dinner.

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Regional independent filmmaker Johnny Catalano. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Regional independent filmmaker Johnny Catalano. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Regional independent filmmaker Johnny Catalano. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Catalano is confident in his film’s merit but wants to ensure enough financing before moving forward.

“We want this film to be our calling card,” he said. “We’re hopeful this is the film that will allow others to know we are legit filmmakers with artistic merit and with a voice specific to where we’re from and who we are as people. The people I work with in the Dayton and Cincinnati area are really not looking to go out to Hollywood and just be another cog in the machine, so to speak.”

Two months ago, Catalano presented a regional independent film showcase at the Plaza. He hopes to offer more evenings devoted to his craft.

“I think it’s important for me to recognize filmmakers in the area who are legitimate artists and deserve to have their films shown on the big screen and have it respected in that way,” he said. “I want to maintain a certain amount of independence as an artist. I would absolutely love to be able to produce films right here outside of the Hollywood system. I want people to know you just don’t have to be in Hollywood to make films.”


HOW TO GO

What: “Night of the Living Dead”

When: Thursday, May 26 at 6 p.m.

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

Cost: $5

Tickets: https://www.myplazatheatre.com

FYI: https://www.facebook.com/catalanoonromero

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