Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Stewart, a local filmmaker who debuted his feature film – “Mock and Roll” – at the Gateway Theater in Columbus last November. This was his debut film and he was showing it to local audiences for the first time. The film was shot primarily in Columbus, so having a hometown debut was both a blessing and a curse, with all the highs and lows that accompany a homecoming of this nature. Mark’s journey was a little off the beaten path—he left his day job in HR (after working 34 years) to pursue his passion of music and movies, so there was a lot at stake for his Gateway debut as he began his sixth decade.
“Mock and Roll” was a dream come to fruition, a perfect blend of music, satire and storytelling. It follows a local band (Liberty Mean) that parody another local band (The Black Owls) in their attempt to gain fame and fortune as a cover band. It’s a mash-up of “The Office,” “This is Spinal Tap” and “Fargo” all rolled into one, with the storyline focused around a cadre of hapless millennials.
In the spirit of “The Odyssey,” Liberty Mean is set to embark on a sojourn to Austin TX to attend the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Festival, even though they weren’t booked for the event, nor had any idea what to do once they arrived. They decided to raise funds for the trip by setting up a crowd-funding page, but their contributions were paltry at best—on par with their paying gigs. This didn’t stop them from their quest, however, and they ended up engaging in questionable scientific experiments to raise funds for the trip…..Tomfoolery ensues.
There are many plot twists and turns, so I’ll leave it at that. If you like music, DIY, dreamers, cameo appearances, satire, mockumentaries and homegrown art, you’ll love “Mock and Roll.” It’s got something for everyone.
The film has been featured in many festivals since last fall, including the Orlando Film Festival, Oklahoma’s Eyecatcher International Film Festival, Austin’s Revolution Film Festival and Cincy’s Inside the Loop Film Festival. They received several nominations (Best Comedy, Best Director, Best Editor, etc.) and received awards for Best Feature and Best Original Score. It also took home awards from Cleveland’s Indie Gathering Film Festival. Stewart and company have enjoyed an entire year of basking in the spotlight.
More good news: “Mock and Roll” is currently available on Amazon for the low price of $9.99. It’s a perfect stocking stuffer for the holidays. You don’t have to be a member to purchase; you can simply follow the link here: https://amzn.to/2zvFWOE
Congratulations to Mark and his team that brought us “Mock and Roll.” It was a wild ride. We definitely look forward to the next project! - Pete V.