South Mississippi Strong: Waveland filmmaker helping Coast film industry grow

South Mississippi Strong: Waveland filmmaker helping Coast film industry grow

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - The state of the Southern States Film Industry is good, but a Waveland filmmaker is working to make it even better. Michael Rechtien sees a lot of potential in the future of film in South Mississippi.

"Made my first film in 2006, started writing in 2005 at the end of my old job," Rechtien said.

Rechtien has been making films for just over 10 years. It started as a way to expand his story telling from song writing.

"We picked a script that we thought we could actually do, a short script we could actually do," he said. "And just decided, even though I'm very studious, the best way to find out what we're doing and what we need to improve on, just go shoot one."

His transition from songwriting to screenwriting was natural. It’s something that just made sense to him.

“I just like to create. This is what I’m going to do until the day I die,” said Rechtien. “I want to bring everybody along for the ride that I can. That being said it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of discipline.”

That first film was shot in the Mojave desert. It wasn't until 2016 when Rechtien realized the potential to make films in South Mississippi.

“The scenery here, in so many ways, is so beautiful and so different and so unique,” he said. “And the people are unique. I shot in the Mojave desert because I needed a desert, but other than that I don’t know why you would want to go anywhere else.”

He just wrapped up shooting a film in Waveland and now is working on another that will again feature the Coast.

"I'm writing another film, a feature," said Rechtien. "It's a horror comedy to be shot in New Orleans and in Mississippi. I mean, it's beautiful down here."

Rechtien created the Southern States Fan Film Festival to draw more talent to the Coast, and it’s something he sees continuing to grow.

“It really took off the first year. It wasn’t a full house or anything but people came from Australia, and Scotland and Canada,” he said. “And so this year, everything that we did doubled.”

With the film festival bringing that talent, Rechtien believes the rest is a matter of wanting it bad enough.

"If you're not willing to spend the hours, the days, the weeks, the months, the years, you're just not going to get that good at it," he said.

That time, for Rechtien, will be spent in his studio in Waveland.

“This is always going to be our home base,” Rechtien said. “I’m going to travel a lot because I like to travel. I like to hike and stuff, but all of that stuff just brings me more ideas to write. Writing is what it’s all about for me.”

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