The Congressman is a film that understands the politics that’s dominated 2016 all too well. Treat Williams (Hair, Prince of the City) headlines a stellar cast as Maine Congressman Charlie Winship, who’s having a bad day. After being caught on video refusing to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance, he knocks out another House member, confronts his angry ex-wife, and faces denunciation by the media for attacking one of the most cherished patriotic symbols in America. As his life spirals out of control, Charlie embarks on a journey to the remote Maine island whose eccentric inhabitants are in the middle of a shooting war in defense of their fishing grounds. Here is a home-grown yet world class, humorous and moving film with the smell of the Maine coast that raises the important question of what it means to be an American.
The film had its World Premiere as the Closing Night Film at the Sarasota Film Festival. It will open in New York City and Washington DC (following a gala event at the MPAA theater for members of Congress), and in Mrazek’s old home district in Long Island on 4/29. Starting 5/6 it will roll out to the rest of the country!
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About the Director
ROBERT J. MRAZEK: Producer, Writer, Co-Director
Long before he ever made a movie, Bob Mrazek yearned to be part of the cinema world, studying for a time at the London Film School. But the gods decreed a long, circuitous detour through the political forest before allowing him to embrace his muse. After a short stint as a senatorial aide, Mrazek was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature (1975-82) and then to the U. S. House of Representatives for five terms (1983-1993), representing New York’s third district.
After leaving Congress, Mrazek built a new career as a writer of fiction, non-fiction and screenplays. The Congressman, his first-produced script, harkens back to his previous life in politics and is peripherally autobiographical. The story also pays homage to the flinty, stalwart residents of Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine, where he lives part of the year and has owned a home for thirty years.
Though born in Rhode Island (November 6, 1945), Mrazek grew up in Long Island, New York and graduated from Cornell University in 1967. He joined the Navy but his service was short-lived due to injury. Politics then beckoned.
As a congressman, Mrazek authored several pieces of important legislation, some of it related to the motion picture medium. The National Film Preservation Act (1987) protects a film from alteration, including colorization, without permission of its creators. It also created the National Film Registry, which authorizes the Library of Congress to annually select for preservation 25 films which are “culturally, historically, or esthetically significant.” Mrazek was honored for his work by the Directors Guild of America in 1987.
Other ground-breaking legislation by Mrazek includes the Amerasian Homecoming Act (1987) which allowed more than 25,000 children fathered by American servicemen during the Vietnam War to come to the U. S. The Tongass Timber Reform Act (1990) protects two million acres of old-growth forest in Alaska, and the Manassas Battlefield Protection Act (1988) prevented the legendary Virginia battlefield from being turned into a shopping mall.
Bob Mrazek has published seven awardwinng books. Stonewall’s Gold is set during the Civil War and won the Michael Shaara prize for best CW novel of 1999, The Deadly Embrace, a murder mystery, earned the American Library Assn.‘s award for best work in military fiction; Valhalla, a thriller, was published in 2014. His first non-fiction book, A Dawn Like Thunder: The True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight, was named ‘best book of American history in 2009 by the Washington Post.
JARED MARTIN: Co-Director, Producer
An actor since the age of ten, Jared Martin is also a fine arts photographer and director of diverse movies, including dance films for his wife, Yu Wei, a Chinese classical dancer. A long-time resident of Philadelphia, Martin was the creative director of Big Picture Alliance, the city’s filmmaking cooperative, for fifteen years. He supervised hundreds of student filmmakers and directed some two dozen films himself. His work with Lost Dog Productions continued in that vein. Between 2004 and 2007, he was a lecturer at the University of the Arts.
The son of noted illustrator and cartoonist, Charles E. Martin, he was born in New York in 1941 and studied at the progressive Putney School in Vermont. Continuing on to Columbia University, he graduated in 1965 with a B. A. in English and immediately began to act, mostly on stage but occasionally in non-mainstream movies. His college roommate, Brian DePalma, made Martin the star of his debut film, “Murder a la Mode.”
Other venues where Martin trod the boards include Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park and the Boston Classical Repertory. He also had a starring role in Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy on Broadway. He then re-located to Los Angeles.
Martin’s film credits as an actor include Westworld (1973), The New Gladiators (1983), Karate Warrior (1988) and Twin Sitters (1994). He was more prolific on television, playing “Dusty,” the boyfriend of Sue Ellen in the hit series, Dallas, for three years. He also appeared in Columbo, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Waltons, The Incredible Hulk, Fantasy Island (1983) and Magnum, P.I. (1986) and had a recurring role in War of the Worlds between 1988-1990. He has produced two photo journal art books based upon prior travels in China, “Letter from Zibo,” in 2010, and “Dazhengzhao - a 1000-Year-Old Village,” in 2012.