Local director’s movie opens to good reviews

Photos by Andrea Poteet

On top, director Joseph Johnston (left) and writer Scott Galeski (right) pose in front of the step and repeat at the premiere of their short film “Protangeline” at the Trenton Village Theatre last Saturday. James Buttson (above), a former Woodhaven High School teacher, takes the stage during the premiere. Buttson played cranky bar owner Stan Loganowski in the film, his first starring role.

Sunday Times Newspapers

When the lights dimmed inside the Trenton Village Theatre Saturday, some familiar faces filled the silver screen.

Several Downriver actors appeared in the short film “Protangeline,” written by Wyandotte police detective Scott Galeski, which premiered at the theater Saturday.

The film follows a day in the life of bar owner Stan Loganowski, as he unleashes his temper on his staff and customers – Mary, a quiet woman with a black eye, and Phil, a stuttering loner. In the end the viewer comes to realize that everyone, even surly Stan, is not as they seem.

Galeski, who has four other films in production with Livonia-based producer Joseph Johnston, said looking beyond stereotypes is a message in many of his scripts. “Protangeline,” shot in black and white, especially showcases the theme, he said. The film has only one hint of color, a hot pink flower Stan places in Mary’s hair.

“In the drab of black and white, if you look hard enough, you will find color,” Galeski said.

Former Woodhaven High School teacher James Buttson, of Allen Park, played Stan in the film. The role was his second on the big screen, after playing a small part in Galeski’s first film, “The Tank.”

“He wanted me to have the lead in this one,” Buttson said. “It was a lot more work, but I had a great time. When he calls, we do what he wants.”

The evening also included another of Galeski’s shorts, “Detention,” a comedy about misbehaving elves, and films by two guest directors, both from Michigan. Joseph Parcell’s “The Looker” was about a teen boy who finds out he has X-ray vision and begrudgingly becomes a superhero. Robert Joseph Butler’s “The Spirit of Isabel,” was a somber look at a prostitute struggling to make ends meet.

Butler, 27, visited the theater to talk about his film, which was shot earlier this year and won first place in the Blue Water Film Festival.

“I wanted to tell a story that reflected today’s times,” Butler said.

After the film, the cast and crew took the stage to address the audience of more than 300 people.

“He’s an absolute jewel to Downriver,” Allen Park resident Chris Kowalske, who played an elf in “Detention” said of Galeski. “Everything he touches turns to gold.”

“Detention” also features Wyandotte actors Noel Galeski, Ryan Patrick, Randal Casey, Rod Baker, Randi Hutchison and Gene Skidmore.

“Protangeline” features Patrick and Casey along with Tim Rezaie of Flat Rock; John Piteo of Trenton; Vasiliki Vassilaros and Louisa Concessi of Grosse Ile; Chad Steele and Andrew Wong of Riverview; and Stephen Pullum of Southgate.

Wyandotte resident Sandy Casey said she enjoyed the realistic feel of “Protangeline,” which will be available for more viewings on createspace.com.

“I just loved it,” she said. “It was very entertaining and true to life.”

Grosse Ile resident Shanna Gronda said she especially enjoyed a scene at the end of “Protangeline,” where each character is introduced as a member of Stan’s metaphorical king’s court.

“I liked at the end how he tied it all together by introducing everyone together,” Gronda said. “I had a tear in my eye. It was awesome.”

(Contact Andrea Poteet at apoteet@bewickpublications.com)