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Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011

Milwaukee Filmmaker Creates 'Will and Testament'

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Eric Strelitzer is a 2006 UW-Oshkosh graduate and Wisconsin native who wrote and directed Will and Testament, currently in post-production and scheduled for a fall release. A resourceful and passionate filmmaker, Strelitzer made use of Milwaukee talent to create a dark and uncompromising medical drama. He wants Will and Testament, his first film, to challenge ethical norms. Strelitzer promises that the film will make for an interesting conversation during the trip home from the theater.

What is the basic premise of the film?


Well, I sat down one night, had a few Guinnesses and had the basic story down. The story is about a couple in their early 20s, Luke and Dana, who get into a car accident one Thanksgiving. Luke is OK, but Dana is in a coma. At about the six-month anniversary of the accident, Luke runs into her doctor and asks him if there is any way he and Dana could have a child, like with in vitro fertilization. As they discuss this odd question, Dana starts to flat-line and Luke, disheveled, pulls a gun and orders the doctor to do it. This starts a hostage situation. It takes the hostage film and turns it on its side; the actual film is on their relationship, and the motivations of why [Luke] does what he does.

Is this a dark film?


I am fine with people saying Luke is a bad person for what he does, and some saying he is a good person. I did not want to do a hostage film; I wanted to make it as thought-provoking as possible. Yes, it is pretty dark. It transcends a lot of genres, too. There are some funny moments throughout, though.

Why did you film in Milwaukee?


The film actually takes place in Milwaukee, and the characters reference it in the film. There are so many movies where the story takes place in New York or L.A. Milwaukee has the talent, and there is an awesome art scene in the Third Ward, the East Side and Riverwest. Brian Estel, who plays Luke, went to UW-Milwaukee. I want to help Milwaukee become a legitimate place to make movies. This is where I am from. I want to shoot my movies here and make the stories take place here.

What are your favorite films?


I am a huge Christopher Nolan and Charlie Kaufman fan. If I had to pick a favorite film, it would be Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and I love Christopher Nolan's early film Memento. Memento and Being John Malkovich inspired me to be a filmmaker.

How will the film be released?


Once it is cut and ready, I will contact the Oriental. There is currently online fund-raising. We go through indiegogo.com and donors can search Will and Testament. Our main goal with the fund-raising is paying film-festival fees.