“Mr. What” is the second movie by Pastor Alan Maki to feature Tecumseh in a faith-based family drama. Maki’s first film, “Sidewalk Singer” was well received in Tecumseh, throughout the United States, Canada and Finland.
Maki has always been a writer but never expected his writing to take him to the movies. “I got good feedback as a kid about my writing,” Maki said.
After a career as an English teacher and Baptist pastor, Maki found himself drawn to writing screenplays designed to inspire and represent the good values in a small town. He feels movies today often aren’t interested in depicting the good found in the world.
“Why not put out a movie for families that shows great values?” said Maki. “It makes me feel good to do something lovely.”
In the film, Mattiesko Wuopio, played by Maki, has spent 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. After being released from prison, Wuopio continues to feel imprisoned by the harassment he receives.
Redemption is found through his father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, a stray dog, and a boy, played by Maki’s 12-year-old grandson, Mikah Scott Carter.
“Mr. What” is truly a family movie, with Maki’s son, Shaun, as director/cinematographer/editor. His daughter acts in the film as well, and Maki believes his grandson steals the movie with his portrayal.
“Mikah is fabulous,” Maki said. “It was fun getting to put my friends and family in a movie. It was just a thrill.”
Working with his son as director of the movie was a great experience for Maki. He believes the quality cinematography and sound carry the movie as much as the story does.
Shaun was thorough in the footage shot for the film, and his thoroughness benefited the actors in the film, as did Shaun’s careful editing.
“Shaun films every scene multiple times. He had a lot of shots to choose from,” said Maki. “Shaun did an amazing job. He’s my secret weapon.”