Los Feliz gastropub Messhall Kitchen has a new (and Hollywood-approved) item on its menu this November: a film festival.
This is like no other. The fest consists of eight short films, all produced and shot entirely in Messhall over an eight-week period, accomplished by talent often sitting on staff or at restaurant tables.
Messhall server John Bangle and bartender Andrew Pack, both creative multi-hyphenates in their own right, conceived the fest after surveying the scene and noticing the potential of its talent pool. His project met with overwhelming interest and he was able to produce short films (seven comedies and one drama) over a period of eight weeks, tending to night shoots when Messhall was closed. Add to that a small staff and no budgets, it seems like an insurmountable task but thanks to those regulars is in large part impossible.
They hired industry insiders new girl Writer Berkley Johnson, Aaron Blairt of Team Coco, and veteran cinematographer Charles Papert (Key and Peele), among others, to bring it across the finish line.
When asked how the films came about, Bungle says he was “absolutely blown away”. “Andrew and I said, ‘Hey, we do this thing and think it’s good. It’s their job to do [the films] Fantastic and everyone brought their A-game and delivered. ecstasy This is probably the best word that comes close to describing the feeling. This wouldn’t have happened without the community that Messhall built. A lot of yes we needed to do this and they just kept coming.
The Messhall Film Festival began on November 9 as a private, invitation-only event, with public screenings planned for November 14, 16, 28 and 30. To celebrate the inaugural event, a special “MHFF Menu” will be available featuring performances, food and drink specials. Messhall also occupies a place in Hollywood history. 4500 Los Feliz Blvd. This building located in the once famous director Cecil B. Home to the iconic Brown Derby restaurant (featured in the 1996 film Swingers) owned by DeMille.
The Short films include Bromance is deadDirected by Pac and Kevin Steele with a script by Steele; The other side of the ranchWritten and directed by Christy Rumpza; Why the long faceWritten and directed by Rebecca Munley; The Last SupperDirected by Neil Tyler from a script by Thunder Conway; There is no barPapert directed from a script by Raven Moran; BatangaWritten and directed by Aaron Blairt, Cat Coasters, directed by Maria Burton from a script by Berkeley Johnson; And last callDirected by Kalief Fuller from a script by Thunder Conway.
“We’re all familiar with the typical L.A. trope of a restaurant server hoping to be ‘discovered’ while waiting for a producer or director, but these amazing friends broke down the typical divide and brought regulars and crew together in a series of joyous, illusive nights of collaborative filmmaking,” offered Papert. “I’ve been a regular at Messhall since the beginning, but participating in this festival has really given me my love for the place and the people who work there.”
This story first appeared in the Nov. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.