The 27-year-old directed and wrote her first movie as a film student at UW-Milwaukee in 2013. Four years later, Brandt’s third movie, Dear Coward on the Moon, premiered at the MKE Film Festival.
Lights, Camera, Action!
The Milwaukee Film Festival, which has screened Brandt’s films in years past, returns Oct. 17-31. Expect to see Hollywood A-listers sharing the spotlight with local directors, actors and writers – both on the screen and in person, at audience talkbacks. For more information, visit mkefifilm.org.
Most of Pet Names’ roughly $15,000 budget went to necessities, like gas and food during the three-week
shoot in Lone Rock, 45 miles west of Madison, near where Brandt grew up. Most of the equipment was borrowed, the crew largely comprised of people Brandt met during film school.
“We wanted to make the biggest splash that we could, because we’re nobodies and we’re coming from a town that people don’t really equate with filmmaking,” Brandt says.
To pay her bills, Brandt edits other people’s documentaries or commercials. Brandt plans to collaborate with Johnston for her fifth film, Pink Moon, centered around a queer couple whose car breaks down in rural Kansas. “Pet Names was kind of like our toe in the door, so hopefully this film will be like our foot in the door.”