Scott Galeski is hoping this weekend’s Detroit Independent Film Festival leads to more acclaim for his impassioned work, which he was initially told would “never make it.”
Those words were proved wrong as the Wyandotte police detective by day and filmmaker by night has already won awards for his creations.
His latest venture, Protangeline, is up for three awards in the second annual Michigan Film Awards.
More than 235 films from 16 countries were submitted for the film festival. Of those, 120 were Michigan films. Unlike many other film festivals that limit material, the DIFF premiers and welcomes films from all types of genres including comedy, drama, horror, as well as many others.
Born and raised in Wyandotte, Galeski has always been active within the and the community. For several years, he ran the D.A.R.E. program within the school district, and now oversees the department’s Explorers program for young adults interested in pursuing a job in law enforcement.
While his schedule keeps him on the go, Galeski always made time for one thing–one dream–that was important to him.
Writing, with an emphasis on filmmaking, has always been an interest of his. The hobby has quickly turned into a great talent.
He said he’s “always been a daydreamer and I have written most of my life."
During high school, he describes himself as being more of an athlete and "not very studious in school." He wasn’t involved with the school’s theater program, but loved writing.
His writing teacher did not praise him for his work, however. Galeski laughs as he recalls how the teacher (whom he declined to name) gave him poor grades and said he "will never make it" with his material.
Galeski credits another English teacher, Ernest Smith, for pointing out his true potential as a writer.
"He was a great man and I dedicate everything I do to him," he said.
Galeski said his storytelling includes both fiction and nonfiction tales.
“(My) ideas and stories come from a combination of things,” he said. “My life experiences, my observations and imagination. … I am proud to say that I am from Downriver and will showcase Downriver in all my films and scripts. I have met a lot of characters along my journey."
Galeski said his big break came in 2008 when he ran into Joseph Johnston of Uranium Films at a dinner party.
"I was in the right place at the right time and the rest is history," he said.
Galeski has written two films to date.
The first, The Tank, premiered at the Trenton Village Theatre on Jan. 16, 2010. It is a short film about the lives of five prisoners awaiting arraignment in the Wayne County Jail. The film portrays a harsh reality of jail life as the personal stories of each prisoner are told one by one. The film was shot on location in Wyandotte's former police headquarters. The cast and crew was comprised of real life ex-cons, gang members, police officers, and everyday people, all of whom were making their acting debut.
The Tank was accepted into several film festivals throughout the country shortly after its release. The film won the Peoples Choice Award for Best Film in February 2008.
Galeski's second independent short film, Protangeline, premiered in front of a sold out crowd on Nov. 27, 2010, also at the Trenton Village Theatre. This film was selected for the Queen's World Film Festival in New York, as well as the Detroit Independent Film Festival where it is nominated for Best Supporting Actor–Short (Timothy A. King), Best Original Score–Short (Daniel Galeski Jr.) and Best Screenplay–Short (Scott Galeski).
Galeski boasts about his cast and crew, explaining everyone is "unique because this is only our second film and none of us has had any prior acting or writing experience."
Galeski said his brother, Daniel, organizes the scores with "non-sampled" music.
“(He) actually writes and plays instruments,” Galeski said. “Many music scores are written with computer sampled music. … Daniel is the person who breathes life into our films and gives it the feel."
The word Protangeline is a noun that is simply defined as a mere state of being or existence in which one lives from day to day, only satisfied with the basic needs of life. Essentially, Protangeline is a journey of Downriver people as seen through the eyes of an employee at Stan's Place bar. The bar's staff and patrons expose the personal life of the gruff bar owner, Stan Loganowski.
Galeski said the story "will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and in the end realize that love comes in many different forms. This is a story of judgment, hope and promise of those society chooses to look down upon."
Protangeline will be shown at 3 p.m. Saturday during the Detroit Independent Film Festival. The venue will be , 211 S. Old Woodward Avenue. The entire festival's schedule can be found online. Tickets also can be purchased online.
As for Scott Galeski's future, his next film, Pookerland, will hit the theater this summer. The movie is about a man who has been released from prison after serving 25 years for homicide and his struggles to rebuild his life and find redemption in a family member he never knew existed.