The Fearless Film Freaks

‘Congratulations’ are in order for Mike Brune and funny filmmakers Fake Wood Wallpaper.

Mike Brune (right) and propmaster Katie Orr on the set of “Congratulations.”

Mike Brune (right) and propmaster Katie Orr on the set of “Congratulations.”

As Mike Brune (B.A. ’02) tells it, all he’s ever wanted to do was to make movies with his friends.

“I started making films as a kid,” says Brune. “It was like playing a sport. Instead of getting together to shoot hoops, we made movies.”

“Congratulations,” filmed in the Johns Creek, Ga., neighborhood where Brune cut his cinematic teeth, and, literally, inside his parents’ house, is his first feature film as a writer and director. It’s making the rounds on the festival circuit and won Best Georgia Production at this year’s Atlanta Film Festival.

The film is the second full-length motion picture produced by Fake Wood Wallpaper, the comic film collective founded by Brune and fellow Georgia State filmmakers Alex Orr, Hugh Braselton (B.A. ’03) and Adam Pinney (B.A. ’02).

The four came together on the cutting room floor — the film editing room at One Park Place — in 2002 when they were all working on their senior thesis films.

“Congratulations” follows hard-boiled detective Skok (John Curran), who is leading the search for 7-year-old Paul, who vanished from his own living room. Skok focuses all his efforts on finding Paul inside the house. Instead of plastering the neighborhood with posters, he hangs them in the boy’s room.

“It’s an absurd, slightly metaphorical police procedural film,” Brune jokes. “For some people, it’s just weird and silly and entertaining. For me, it’s about a man who spends his whole life investigating other people’s lives and eventually sees that he’s old and has missed out on having a family of his own.”

Like their previous full-length motion picture “Blood Car” (yes, it’s about a car that runs on blood), “Congratulations” was truly a Georgia State affair.

“I think there were probably 20 Georgia State grads, maybe more, working on the film with most in key positions,” Brune says. “Most of them currently work professionally in the film industry in Georgia now, so they were all great.”