‘Saturday Scout Club’ film was shot in Youngstown Intersection of art, life


By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

“Saturday Scout Club,” a film by Matt Palka that was shot in Youngstown, will begin an exclusive monthlong run today at IndieAirRadio.com for members (it’s $10 to join), and then get its world premiere on Amazon.com on Nov. 1.

Palka and Mary Kate Schellhardt play the leads in the film, which is an intimate snapshot of two artists who meet and strike up a relationship within a 24-hour span in Youngstown.

Palka also directed and produced the film, which he and Schellhardt wrote.

A Northwest Ohio native who now lives in Los Angeles, Palka is an actor, author and singer-songwriter with strong ties to Youngstown. He has released four albums, all recorded at Ampreon Recorder in the city, and has performed at Cedar’s numerous times.

Palka is planning to screen the film for Youngstown audiences at a local venue, but the time and place have not yet been set.

“Saturday Scout Club” mirrors Palka’s life in many ways. In the feature-length film (1:49), a traveling singer-songwriter (played by Palka) meets a Hollywood actress at one of his shows in a Midwest town. They quickly form a bond as they explore the city in the limited time they have together.

Shooting was done in several Youngstown locations, including Cedar’s West End bar on Steel Street, Mill Creek Park, the Ward Bakery Building and on downtown streets.

The cast also includes Youngstown-area residents Pete Drivere, Billy Danielson, Vince Scachetti, Tish McKelvey, Chris Yambar and John Mancini. Musicians seen in the film include Jeff Bremer, Joe Falleti and Lex Calder.

Chris Rutushin is the cinematographer and has a cameo appearance.

Palka has written two books that are based on his own experiences: “Moment In the Sun,” about a gypsy-like musician’s cross-country trip on a bicycle; and “Baseball Clubbies,” which is set behind the scenes at a minor-league baseball team.

His filmography also includes “VW Bus Tour: Americana Bohemia.”

Schellhardt has appeared in several major pictures, including “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “Apollo 13” and “Free Willy 2,” and has appeared on the television series “Scrubs,” “House,” “Private Practice” and “Ben and Kate.”

Palka says “Saturday Scout Club” has similarities to the films “Once” (2007) and “Before Sunrise” (1995).

In the film, his character is taking an independent route in pursuing a music career, while Schellhardt’s has already had success within the mainstream.

The film also frames the dichotomy of Youngstown.

“It has a balance,” said Palka. “It starts at night, where you see the harder edge of an industrial city whose heyday has long passed. “But later you see the beauty of nature bursting out, and you see it through the artists’ eyes.

“It shows that you can create art here, and that there is a community of artists here who are doing that.”

The film includes an original soundtrack, written and performed by Palka, which can also be purchased on IndieAirRadio.com as a download and as a vinyl album.

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