Matt Torsell, graduate of 2017, recently announced the release of his first feature film, Hustle on Lombard, which will be released on Amazon Prime for streaming and purchasing on Oct. 16.
The film centers around two estranged brothers: one a paranoid schizophrenic and the other a drug addict, who come together after the death of their father and are forced to navigate through their issues in the streets of Baltimore, Maryland.
Torsell, who has a history of mental illness in his own family, was inspired to make this film with the intention of portraying mental illness on the screen in a way he’d never seen it portrayed before.
Torsell also noted Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Good Time (2017) as two of the biggest cinematic inspirations for his film.
The entirety of Hustle on Lombard was shot in only eight days in Baltimore during the summer of 2019, with the help of Torsell’s director of photography, Lucas LeWinter, who also graduated from Capital in 2017.
“It was crazy,” Torsell says. “We used my own apartment as the main character’s apartment, so for two days, my apartment looked terrible.”
The setting included newspapers that were taped over the windows, and they even littered the place with pill bottles that Torsell had collected over the years.
After production was completed, Torsell had some help from a couple more Capital alumni in the post production phase of his film. Dan Stemen, class of 2016, worked on the coloring for the film, while Tristan Huygen, class of 2018, did the music soundtrack.
Back in January, Torsell was able to have a private premiere of his film at a theater before the pandemic hit.
“Just being able to show it on a big screen in front of friends and family, and all the people involved, was so hugely rewarding,” Torsell says.
“If you’re not in the traditional film system, it’s hard to feel legitimate in your head. So seeing your work on the big screen really does have that effect,” he continues.
The film was recently shown at the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival, which took place virtually due to the pandemic. Despite not being able to attend the festivals in person, Torsell was excited to see his film get accepted into them.
Torsell studied Electronic Media and Film during his time at Capital, which gave him the tools necessary to pursue film the way that he did. Jim Higgins, Sharon Croft, and Betsy Pike are a few of the professors from Capital who had a significant impact on his experience.
“Capital also gave me a network, which in some ways is one of the most valuable parts about that experience,” Torsell said.
Most of the people who helped him on projects like this are people he met during his time at Capital.
Torsell is hoping to return to his hometown of Columbus next summer to film his next feature film, which he hasn’t officially announced too many details for yet.
“I am very much looking forward to that,” Torsell said.