Underground Film Journal

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Feature Film Online: Wanted New Talent! The Walt Gollender Story

By Mike Everleth ⋅ March 21, 2010

The Underground Film Journal’s second ever Movie of the Year is at last available to view online, so audiences worldwide can now get to see what all the fuss was about. It’s the documentary Wanted New Talent! The Walt Gollender Story by underground filmmaking legend Mike Z. Hear one man’s true, heartbreaking story of trying to fulfill the ultimate American dream: Discovering a number one hit song that will set the entire country on fire. Sit back and let Walt bring you back to those golden years when music really meant something.

So, why did I choose this as my Movie of the Year? What I love about it is the film’s minimalism. Really, it’s just one guy plopped down in front of a camera and allowed to just ramble on seemingly unfiltered — and be completely engaging for the entire hour. There probably aren’t many people in the world where this type of format would be successful for them. But Walt is truly a fascinating character and there are so many layers of detail to his story that it comes alive visually just through his words. It feels as though Walt, who obviously loves to talk, has been auditioning his entire life to be in this film.

And I think Mike Z‘s concept to go with a visually minimalist style enhances Walt’s story. Trying to recreate or re-visualize Walt’s words would only detract from their innate beauty and emotionalism, rather than enhance them. And the framing is very crafty, shot from a low angle so that Walt is essentially looking down towards the audience, not in a condescending way, but as if we are students and he is the teacher telling us what it was truly like to live and work in a bygone era that was filled with such promise and hope, with that elusive number one hit just outside of Walt’s grasp.

Plus, there’s Walt’s old-school style music guy business suit and the incongruous-but-perfectly-matching glittery background, so we know exactly from which aspect of the music industry he represents whether we’ve ever actually dealt with out own Walt in our lives or seen his type of character in a movie.

Walt’s story is an engaging, colorful one. He really brings us into his world, sometimes over-embellishing with so many details. But, really, that only adds to the charm of the tale. It’s a tale that’s told very well and makes us feel for the man telling it.

P.S. Walt’s story should prove extra intriguing to those who grew up in the Jersey Shore / Philadelphia area anytime from the ’60s to the ’80s, especially when he talks about his relationship with Al Alberts, who used to be a local celebrity in that region.