Local filmmaker takes aim at top Rode festival prizes

A scene from the locally shot short film "Fixer," which is currently a finalist for awards in Rode Microphones' international short film competition. Photo courtesy of Inkwater Pictures
A scene from the locally shot short film "Fixer," which is currently a finalist for awards in Rode Microphones' international short film competition. Photo courtesy of Inkwater Pictures

Locally shot short film “Fixer” is currently a finalist in an international online film festival hosted by Rode Microphones.

Phoenixville resident and local filmmaker Matt Mahoney, of Inkwater Pictures, wrote, directed and shot many scenes in Phoenixville, as well as in Philadelphia.

Originally an eight episode web series, Mahoney scaled down the story into a short film and then entered it into the contest. Mahoney said he enjoyed shooting scenes in Phoenixville and the support of the local community.

“My favorite thing about shooting here each and every time I do is just how warm and receptive people are to creative endeavors like this,” said Mahoney. “Regardless of the medium, everyone is just so welcoming. It’s disheartening to hear ‘no’ a lot from people who don’t understand what you’re trying to do, and I‘ve never heard that here. It’s really encouraging to keep going on with my career and keep doing the best that I can and try and show Phoenixville in the best positive light.”

Mahoney continued, “Phoenixville is an attractive town for any artist, there’s a good artistic vibe in the town and that’s what drew me here to begin with. I’ve filmed a lot of projects here. The town itself is photogenic and it can double for other places if you’re willing to go out and look for them. Having somewhere right in my backyard where I can use has certainly been a rewarding experience.”

Fixer’s cast and crew have ties to both Phoenixville and the Philadelphia area. Actors Shaun Paul Costello (from Philadelphia) and Corey Parker Robinson of HBO’s “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire” star in the film. Phoenixville native Rob Casmay composed the music for the film, and Chris Newhard, also a Phoenixville native, was the director of photography. Matt Nadu, who is an on-air host and web contributor for CBS3/CW Philly, produced the film.

The story of “Fixer” focuses on Rider, the main character, who has a checkered past. Since his father’s death, his run-ins with the police have come more frequent due to bar fights and theft, which have led to his accumulation of legal fines. Having lost his job, and having trouble paying his fines, Rider seeks help in Jack Miller, a longtime friend of his father’s.

“Jack sees this as an opportunity to manipulate Rider into coming under his employment as a fixer, someone who handles problems before they become problems outside the law, and promises him protection,” said Mahoney.

Mahoney said the film follows Rider on his first job and the mistakes he makes along the way, which results in him having to take drastic action to ensure his anonymity, but not at the cost of his humanity.

“Fixer” is one of 40 films chosen from 1,100 in the final round of judging in the festival. Mahoney said the film is a truncated version of the first two episodes of the web series, and he is looking to show the short film to possible investors, so he can make a full version of the film. Anyone can log on, watch and vote for Fixer until June 23 for the People’s Choice award at www.rodemic.com/myrodereel/watch/741.