'Middle Village: The Movie' will premiere on Nov. 14 at Cinemart Cinemas in Forest Hills, located at 106-05 Metropolitan Avenue. The first showing will begin at 9 p.m. with a second showing occurring at 10 p.m. because of the community’s demand.
The film was actually shot in Middle Village, not on some sound stage elsewhere. With a fascination regarding the neighborhood that represents both Americana and urban life, Madison pulled out all the stops to represent the area in a warm, feel-good way.
For more information about the film and for tickets and showtimes, head to Facebook.com/middlevillagefilm or MiddleVillageMovie.com.
I spoke with Madison about filming in Middle Village, the film’s genre and the community’s support.
Will it be a film or more of a documentary?
There are parts of it that are like a narrative, like if you imagine the little Saturday Night Live skits, that set up the talking heads part of the documentary. I would say it’s 90 percent documentary with 10 percent of me and Brian O’Halloran from ‘Clerks’ just doing goofy stuff to make people laugh.
So it’s more of a comedy?
Yes, it’s a comedy/documentary.
Can you explain a little more about what the movie is about and why is it centered around Middle Village?
It’s about people’s passion for the neighborhood. It’s really more of a story that’s looking back at a time which really doesn’t exist anymore. Kids would go out and play on the street, play stickball and stoop ball. They’d ride their bicycles, place baseball cards in their spokes and just all of the things that we did while growing up.
And Middle Village really serves as the canvas for things that people were doing throughout the country that we’re just not doing anymore.
I was born in Middle Village in 1970 and moved out in 1997, so I lived there for almost 28 years. When I moved out, I got into the film industry and did a horror film called Mr. Hush that had a very modest success. I go back to Middle Village all the time because I have so many fond memories there and I said there’s a story that needs to be told here. It was really like living in Mayberry but we were three miles outside of the biggest metropolis in the world. It was very strange, you know?
Are there specific places in Middle Village where you guys filmed?
We shot at Juniper Park. We also shot at the London Lennie’s restaurant, on Metropolitan Avenue and on Dry Harbor Road. We shot pretty much everywhere. We shot at Middle Village Park. It was so cool to be in the area that I grew up in, my stomping grounds, and be walking around for this movie.
I was a big Clerks, Mallrats and Kevin Smith fan growing up so to have Brian O’Halloran, who was the star in those movies, hanging out and filming in Middle Village with me was pretty awesome.
Have you heard any support from the community?
Well, this will be the premiere and I think we only have a few tickets left before it’s sold out. That’s pretty mind-boggling because people don’t usually buy movie tickets in advance. They usually just walk up to the window. I suspect it will be a mob scene there on Saturday night. Now we just have to convince the theater to play us again.
After the premiere, will there be any more showings around Queens?
There’s always a possibility that it’s picked up throughout the country. But at the very least, it will be streaming on Netflix and will also be available on DVD and Blu-ray. It’s not like it’s going to be hard to find if you want it.
What do you think is the hardest thing to capture about Middle Village?
You know what’s funny? The magic of this movie is that we were able to capture the amazing amount of love and warmth that people do have for it.
That’s what makes the movie cool. Everybody who’s involved with the film just has this glow and this excitement while just talking about this one specific place and the time they associate it with.
That’s what makes the movie so awesome. Even if you live in Iowa, you could watch Middle Village and connect on so many levels through the stories that movie tells. So, it was kind of a movie that made itself.
How long did it take to create the movie?
It took 11 months. Generally when you do a narrative motion picture, you do four months of pre-production then two months of shooting during continuous days. While with a documentary, you space it out during a period of time as people become available. So, it’s totally a different animal but it’s rewarding.
Narrative films are either hit or miss, people either like them or they dislike them. It’s going to be hard to dislike this movie because it’s so light, funny, informative and sweet. It’s like a feel-good Christmas movie. Just what we need now.