The Badger Film Group will premiere their latest film, “Watch Out,” at the Marquee Theater at Union South this Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. “Watch Out” is the group’s fifth film that they produced.
“Watch Out” is an action-adventure comedy that stars senior Joe Schwaba as Seth and sophomore Francis Faye as Eric — two brothers that inherited teleportation watches from their father and must make sure that they do not fall into the wrong hands.
Other student roles include Lauren Guzy as Seth and Eric’s sister, Lauren, and Natalie Matthai as Seth’s girlfriend, Paige.
The Badger Film Group’s two recent films have received critical success as they have won two different filmmaking awards. “Slice,” filmed last May and June, won the WAVE award from the Madison Media Professionals, and “New Eden” was the winner of the 48-hour film competition.
When speaking to founder, head-producer and director sophomore Jared Rosenthal about the award recognition, he said it is awesome to see the hard work everyone puts in and be recognized, but they don’t do it for the awards.
Instead, Rosenthal said everyone participating did so because they love making quality movies.
While “Watch Out” is the group’s fifth film, it will be the first feature-length one. According to Rosenthal, it required a lot more time and energy from the group to write, film and edit this film.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned by doing a feature-length is how organized you need to be,” Rosenthal said. “A lot of us are students, and we have to juggle filming with our own academic schedules. But everyone worked so hard and did a great job at helping make this film.”
The Badger Film Group has also grown to include not just students, but now industry professionals. These professionals include Jeremiah Green, one of the film’s leading cameramen, and AJ Laird, who stars as the film’s main villain. This was another big shift that Rosenthal had to make in his directorial style, as now he was not just working with college students but grown adults.
“At first, I was definitely worried that maybe these older guys would come in and not necessarily take what I did seriously just because I was a college student,” Rosenthal said. “But I think we all quickly came to realize that we all had a common purpose and that is to make the best film possible.”
While many industry professionals were working on this film, students were still crucial contributors to the production and behind-the-scenes efforts for making the film.
One of these students is senior Blake Switzer. Switzer is a director and editor and hopes that working on these films can showcase his talents in filmmaking. Switzer was the primary filmer and editor of “Watch Out.” Rosenthal refers to Switzer as “one of the most talented people” he has ever worked with and the “engine that pushed this film to get done.”
Another one of these students is senior Max Jacobs, a new addition to the group.
“If this were like sports, getting Max in our group would be the greatest free agent pickup,” Rosenthal said. “I’m so glad that Max came and joined us. He was the glue guy who really helped to make sure everyone was organized.”
Max’s roles primarily consisted of making sure the actors were taken care of, assisting Rosenthal with creative input and helping form the schedules for filming and location scouting. Jacobs hopes to do this as a profession, using his organizational and leadership skills to become an Assistant Director.
“Having guys like Blake and Max on set really allowed me to take a more hands-off approach when it came to how I operated on the set,” Rosenthal said. “I knew I could trust their creative input when it came to how things should work. It was just great to know that these guys share my passion for filmmaking.”
Looking forward, Rosenthal hopes that Watch Out will be just another stepping stone toward his ultimate goal of making Madison a film hub of the midwest.
“The West has USC, the East has NYU, but I’m making UW the film hub of the Midwest,” Rosenthal said. “I know that Watch Out can do that. When people see what Madison has to offer as a film city, they’ll come. You can count on that.”
Lovers of films and student supporters alike can view “Watch Out” this Thursday at Union South. The first 100 entrants get a voucher for a free slice at Ian’s Pizza.