Unlike the filmmakers before him, Frank did not see a film when he was five years old and then dream of becoming a filmmaker. His first dream of what he wanted to achieve in life was breaking the four-minute mile, but genetics would lead him to other dreams. His mother had always told Frank to have many dreams for they are where all things begin. If you do that, you will be on your way to a life filled with joy.
Growing up in Utica, N.Y., Frank went to the matinees as often as he could. He’d sit and eat five bags of McDonald's French fries, which cost all of a buck back then. “I smuggled those fries into the Stanley Theater, always waiting to get thrown out by one of the flashlight crazy ushers.”
“To me, people never made films -- they just appeared from a beam of light onto a two-story screen. And there I would sit, like a king on his throne, surrounded by velvet walls, sitting in my velvet chair, listening to those velvet words, entombed in a giant kaleidoscope.”
In the summer Frank turned 13, he was able to buy a used Kodak M22 with two rolls of film and a Keystone 250 editor. “I filmed everything I saw and called my first film “Lives in the Wind," which was a distant and maybe the first of its kind look at people living on the streets -- old and young, Black, white, dismayed and virtuous. They danced, and sang, and ate from the garbage; it was so visceral.” Frank would wait with intense patience for two weeks to get his film back from Tracy Adams, the local photo developer, then run up to the attic, loaded the reels on the Keystone that sat gingerly on his mother’s ironing board and cut the film together. The joy he felt was ineffable. “I fell in love with film that summer and harnessed a new dream.”
Photo Bob Simbari
The Stanley Theater, where Frank studied film early on, would become his beloved Stanley Pictures production company. Since, Frank has written, produced and directed several feature films and documentaries. His documentary "This Is My Sister" premiered on Wisconsin public television in 2012. His award winning screenplay and film short “The Red Umbrella” was Sony’s “Shoot like a Pro” number one video this past year. He has created commercial videos for corporations and small businesses.