By Kirsten McIlvenna, A&E editor
Rider and Shiloh Strong and Alexandra Barreto will make their way to downtown Bay City on Thursday for the opening of Hell’s Half Mile Film and Music Festival.
The three of them worked together on a political commercial for the Obama campaign. It was the first political ad to ever air on Comedy Central.
Rider Strong of “Boy Meets World” and “Cabin Fever,” and his brother Shiloh Strong of “The Mommies” and the television adaptation of “Dinotopia,” move out of the acting world into directing with their short films “Irish Twins,” “The Dungeon Master,” and “Method,” which will show at the festival.
Barreto of the show “Pepper Dennis” produced “The Dungeon Master” and wrote and starred in “Method.”
“Method” is their newest short and is a dark comedy about when actors take their roles too seriously.
“I literally wanted to come up with a movie to write that I could act in,” Barreto said. “The irony was that we made it about acting and kind of what we all go through in this crazy business.”
The film had a smaller crew and budget. So although they planned everything out, a lot of it was up to chance, Shiloh said.
“It was more guerrilla style,” he said. “We were stealing shots on Hollywood Boulevard.”
The film “The Dungeon Master” is about the characters Shane and Cooper who decide to relive childhood and role play in the game “Dungeons and Dragons.” Because they don’t remember all the rules, they invite someone over to play who ends up being even “geekier” than they thought.
“I think they will respond to it because it is funny,” Rider Strong said. “We will entertain the crap out of whoever comes.”
Shiloh Strong said that any college student who has an inner-geek will appreciate it.
“Irish Twins,” a short about two brothers who realize how different they are from each other, starts with an argument about their father’s ashes. Rider and Shiloh wrote, directed, and acted in this film.
“We’ve always been working with each other and producing our own little projects,” Rider said.
He said that “Irish Twins” was the first film they put a lot of energy in to find out if they liked doing it.
“We got addicted and haven’t been able to stop since,” he said.
Shiloh said that, looking back at it, they realized that they both had more fun when they were behind the camera rather than in front of it. This is when they decided to move out of acting and into just directing.
“I’m so glad we did,” he said. “It’s so much more rewarding as a story teller.”
Rider Strong said that you can do your best as an actor, but in the end it is still someone else’s movie.
“Even though I made a lot more money and had a lot more fame as an actor, it’s more satisfying as a director,” he said.
Rider and Shiloh said they are excited to come to the film festival because they have never been to Michigan.
Their films will show 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30, and 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1, at the State Theatre in Bay City. For more information and ticket sales visit hhmfest.com.