TONITE: Unmasked And A Little Less Anonymous


ElizabethFlynnAvatar2_1.jpgBY ELIZABETH FLYNN Bob Troneiri is an institution in the Philadelphia bartending community. The man’s been slinging drinks for 16 years, and 12 of those years he’s been at Tattooed Mom’s. Every punk rock drunk in the city knows Bob, and if you’ve showed your true colors in Tattooed Mom’s like most of us, it’s guaranteed that Bob knows you. Now, we are all familiar with the phenomenon of bartender/artist, and we all know that the artist part of that equation fades a little bit more every year spent behind the bar. Very few people escape this trap, most end up drinking themselves to death. So that’s why Bob’s new short film Unmasked is a huge cause for celebration.This is a guy who’s flipping the script to artist/bartender. He’s written, directed, produced, and starred in it, and it’s premiering at Tattooed Mom’s tonight from 7pm- 9pm. The film is showing in two runs, one at 7:10 and one at 9:10.

PHAWKER: Can you talk a little bit about what it’s like to be a bartender struggling for recognition as an artist?
BOB TRONEIRI: I remember a Carol Manheim acceptance speech at the Emmys.  She ended with something like, “…this is for all you waiters, bartenders, valets, and part-timers out there too.  It happened for me, it can happen for you.”  I remembered that for a reason.

PHAWKER: Can you give us a brief synopsis of the plot of the movie? Pitch it for us.
BOB TRONEIRI: Brother & sister find themselves tied to chairs in a warehouse about to be snuffed out fighting over whose actions put who there.  Drama exploring which sibling was ultimately the stronger of the two coping with their ruthless, overbearing Joe Kennedy-type father.

PHAWKER: Who did you collaborate with? Director. Producers. Actors. Crew.
BOB TRONEIRI: Director.  I backed into the role when our “let’s kick over the table director” backed out because of personal reasons.  Producers.  Me.  We did it on favors, friends, and frustration.  Actors.  My two principals kindly bowed out when they saw it was becoming a plane wreck in terms of time, locations, etc.  So my writing partner Dave Queppet and I held auditions for the female role based on actors I culled online.  I assumed the other role.  And we cast Tony Baris to play the heavy (He is awesome in it!)

Crew.  The best.  Mike Ford – sound; worked for free.  He’s now in the sound workers union.  Blake Eichenseer – DP; worked for free using a borrowed Panasonic.  He’s DP’d several indy features, and I believe is in consideration for union acceptance.  Mr. George ‘Veck’ McCarten – Gaffer, camera op, PA,  advisor; worked for free.  He’s in the Camera Op union now.  Joel Minnick, PA; worked for free.  He moved to LA a day after he worked with us to get paid work on features.  Tony Baris, PA; worked for free.  Great guy, patient, selfless, creative.  Sara Casey – editor; worked for a case of PBR.  She’s currently on staff as editor for NJ PBS.  Great girl, saved our production and got it across the finish line.

PHAWKER: Where did you do the filming? What Philadelphia locations?
BOB TRONEIRI: Fishtown for the warehouse stuff. A friend, Jake Henry worked at a foundry, huge old spooky warehouse and he let us shoot for free.  South Broad Street for establishing shots. The mural on Broad and Lombard St. Our sound guy Mike Ford intrepidly got some beautiful shots from the roof of the new diamond cut U Penn tower while working on another indy months after we wrapped. Our Tony Baris’ apartment. Friends’ house on 2nd & Christian St. (exteriors). And Kater St.

PHAWKER: Do you consider yourself a Philadelphia writer? Are your stories Philadelphia-centric?
BOB TRONEIRI: Yes. As much as they can afford to be. Currently, however I’m a writer-for-hire for a producer in LA who wants a Romcom that takes place in Chicago. So I’m writing in Chicago right now.

PHAWKER: What do you want to say about the city?
BOB TRONEIRI: To borrow a Raymond Chandler line, “This town is so crooked you’d need a corkscrew to pry it out of the earth.”

PHAWKER: What’s it like to show a film in a the place you’ve worked in for so long?
BOB TRONEIRI: What’s it like? I told my flyer layout man, coworker, and friend Ryan “Chub Rock” Pasquali, “I’ve seen all you guys post flyers for your bands’ shows for years, and now I’m flyering for my film. I never realized how great a feeling it is.” The anticipation. The idea that I in effect was a big part in making my own prom night for so many people. This experience revealed the notion that for most of us after graduation if you don’t make the reason for celebration in your life you won’t have any to look forward to.

PHAWKER: What are your next projects?
BOB TRONEIRI: Currently to finish a rom-com feature. There’s a writer’s pitch cattle call at Mike Lemon Casting tomorrow (Saturday) I’m attending to pitch a Philly-based feature I wrote last year called, “Walk of Shame.” But already my writing partner and I are kicking around ideas for another Philly based short.

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