THE 5TH WALL is a screwball comedy about video artist Willie Boy Walker’s life being turned upside down by his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature (and accompanying cash award of nine million Swedish Crowns = $900,000). The thing is…he’s never written a book! A Channel 8 reporter (Rohana Kenin) is placed on the strange story by an over-eager TV executive (Mike Bolgatz), and Willie Boy thwarts her efforts in every way possible. Before long, Walker’s neurosis regarding the prize (Nobel Prize speech demands, taxation on the money, loss of privacy…), and his secrecy regarding his ability to break down the 5th wall of television using a “secret crystal,” results in strange behavioral changes for all those who’ve made contact. Only a young neighbor girl (Maya Aguayo Schmidt-Feng), is entrusted to carry on his secret television appearances into the next century.
A Film by Rick Schmidt and Willie Boy Walker. Directed by Rick Schmidt. Script by Schmidt and Willie Boy Walker. Featuring Willie Boy Walker, Mike Bolgatz, Maya Aguayo Schmidt-Feng, and Rohanna Kenin (a star of the comedy web series, “47 Secrets to a Younger You,”). Director of Photography – Lloyd Francis. Edited by Jeff Belton & Rick Schmidt. Music by Marlon Schmidt. Produced by Rick Schmidt, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, and Willie Boy Walker.
“Thirty-five-plus years after his 1975 feature filmmaking debut, American Independent Rick Schmidt remains a free-wheeling derring-do filmmaker holding fast to the notion that people’s real lives are more truly dramatic, hilarious, exciting and as exasperating as those manufactured by Hollywood’s minions. Most everyone falls in and out of love, rejects and gets rejected, contends with failure and success, hatred, ambition, the death of loved ones…It’s all there.
To capture real life on film, Schmidt fashions a creative weave out of the threads of narrative, documentary, and docu-drama film forms. His actors draw on their own experience enabling him to create a unique blend of fact and fiction. In the end, Schmidt makes art and life intermingle and imitate each other.
Aware that the American Dream factory financiers would never fund his films, Schmidt, undeterred, remains the maven of low, low-budget feature filmmaking.”
– Vic Skolnick, CINEMA ARTS CENTRE, Huntington, NY