Actor reaps success of feature film

David Maloney is filmed playing Francis Mellon in "Men Go To Battle," which will be shown at the Virginia Film Festival on Nov. 5. Photo courtesy of Tim Morton

After the accomplishment and recognition of one of his latest acting ventures, Strasburg native David Maloney will be visiting and speaking at film festivals in Charlottesville and Los Angeles .

Maloney first started working with filmmaker Zachary Treitz on his senior thesis short film project at Boston University, “The Mean Time,” simply as a friend helping a friend. Treitz recruited Maloney again for his second short, “We’re Leaving,” which was shown at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

He then joined Treitz in 2013 for the director’s first feature project, “Men Go To Battle,” which won Treitz the Best New Narrative Director award at Tribeca Film Festival in April. In it, Maloney plays Francis Mellon, who struggles with his brother Henry and their poor Kentucky farm during the Civil War.

Maloney said the film was one of the most involved and arduous things he’s worked on – shooting days meant waking up at dawn and working on the film into the night before getting in a couple of hours’ sleep.

“It was basically a period set…other than the road,” he said. “That was the only thing that literally wasn’t period, so we brought in dump truck after dump truck of dirt and just dirtied up the road. It was pretty amazing how those dump trucks of dirt transported everybody…because it all was so well put together.”

David Maloney

Having lived in Strasburg until he was about 10, Maloney was no stranger to the period garb and atmosphere.

“I remember when I was like 6 or 7, waking up to cannon fire down on High Street and things falling off the walls, and it was because they were having a reenactment that I had no knowledge of,” he said. “I ran out and I was like, ‘Dad, people are killing each other in the backyard!'”

“Men Go to Battle” will be showing at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville on Nov. 5, where Maloney and Treitz will also sit for a Q&A session. Soon afterward, they’ll be traveling to Los Angeles for a showing at the American Film Institute Fest.

Despite the disappointment from the feature not making the Sundance list, Film Movement acquired it for release and film critic Richard Brody praised it in The New Yorker.

“He just championed the film and called it a instant Western classic,” Maloney said. “It was wildly affirming for everyone.”

Since working with friends like Treitz and expanding his network in the indie film world, Maloney’s worked with a number of directors on a number of projects and had his first actual audition with CBS after the recognition at Tribeca.

“It just kind of slowly started to take the place of ‘that creative thing,'” he said. “I mean, I still love painting, but I guess as I got deeper into acting it slowly started to become the creative outlet, my primary interest and expression.”

He recently finished work on “Blue Blood & Broke,” a feature by Philip Embury, and is currently working on a short by Agostina Gálvez and a feature by Dustin Guy Defa.

Maloney said that he hopes to rejoin Treitz and the feature’s co-writer Kate Lyn Sheil on future endeavors. For now, he’s busy enough with other projects with other creative minds.

“It was just the success that ‘Men Go To Battle’ had that helped me find my manager and meet more folks and become more visible,” he said.


8:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Violet Crown Cinema, 220 W. Main St. in Charlottesville.

• Tickets can be purchased at http://tinyurl.com/owhq4ld and are $12 for adults and $10 for children, students, seniors and educators.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com