FLINT, Michigan — The city of Flint has a storied history as a proving ground for entertainers and artists who have gone on to successful careers in a wide range of genres. Flint businessman Phil Shaltz witnessed that culture firsthand growing up in the area.
“I remember going to Palace Theatre and Capitol Theatre in the 50s and 60s, so I know some of the (entertainment) history here,” Shaltz said. “It would be wrong to say that didn’t play a role in my wanting to be involved in the film industry.”
Shaltz’s first foray into the industry, as executive producer of “The Wolf Hour
,” has already added to the Flint arts and entertainment legacy as the film was recently accepted into the Sundance Film Festival, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world and the largest premiere film festival in the United States.
“There are about 14,000 applications, and only 111 films are selected,” Shaltz said. “The writer/director, Alistair Banks Griffin, is young and already has great acclaim in the industry. For him to already hit Sundance is a testament to his ability.”
"The Wolf Hour" stars Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts as a once-famous counterculture figure who retreats from the spotlight and lives as a shut-in in the South Bronx during the late 1970s. From her apartment, she witnesses escalating tensions in New York, including the “Summer of Sam,” a massive heat wave and rioting.
“It’s a really interesting story, sort of a thriller,” Shaltz said. “Alistair (Banks Griffin) is going to be a force to be reckoned with going forward.”
Since it began in 1985, the Sundance Film Festival has launched hundreds of successful independent films. The festival is held each winter in Park City, Utah, with this year’s festival running from Jan. 24-Feb. 3. The full lineup of films at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival will be publicly announced in December.
Shaltz became involved in the film industry less than two years ago, but he has long had a passion and interest in it.
“I love movies, they have always intrigued me,” Shaltz said. “I’ve always wanted to be behind the camera and learn how movies are made and I am also excited to learn how they’re sold and distributed. It has been a great experience.”
“The Wolf Hour” is the first of three films Shaltz is involved in.
“Maybe one of these days, one of the films will play in Capitol Theatre,” Shaltz said. “That would be a great thing for this all to come full circle and add to the great acclaim of this city.”