Hang around Mickey Reece long enough, and he will have you acting strangely. But that's a filmmaker's job, and few directors in Oklahoma have been as productive as the Newcastle native. "People don't ask to be in my movies,” Reece said in a recent interview. "It's more like, 'Hey you, you're in my movie.'” With that attitude and a tireless work ethic, Reece has made eight feature-length films in the past two years and has recruited local musicians such as Ali Harter, Chris Harris and even his own grandmother for his latest effort, "Country Singer,” which will be screened Saturday at the Opolis, 113 N Crawford in Norman. "This is definitely a movie from the guys who watched 'Crazy Heart' and 'Coal Miner's Daughter,'” Reece said. "Country Singer” is a mockumentary in the vein of Christopher Guest films such as "Best in Show” and "A Mighty Wind.” It's the fictional story of a demented and determined country musician named Kenny Wayne, who deeply envies the success of his friendly rival, Roy Mason. Reece took a break from his music career as the one-man-band outfit El Paso Hot Button to focus on moviemaking after receiving funding from an Arkansas investor. "Our movies are getting better and better,” Reece said. "So, I feel the more (bad) movies you make, eventually you'll make a good one. A lot of people's approach to it is, 'If I can't make it good, then I can't make it at all.'” Although Reece's films don't have talking Great Danes or kids learning karate, he's jumping headfirst into making dialogue-heavy movies and refusing to settle on making short films. "(A lot of moviemakers) are usually too concerned about the technical aspect of (feature-length films),” Reece said. "We're like the complete opposite. If it's going to be (bad), who cares? Let's just make the whole movie. We rarely start a project and not finish it.” Reece has been making movies since the 10th grade, and he spent an entire school year making one of his first films, a gangster epic called "Organized Crime.” He said he got hooked on movies after sitting front row for Tim Burton's "Batman.” "Country Singer” co-writer and star Joey Paz grew up with Reece in Newcastle and remembered Reece's passion for film. "He was pretty much the only one (making movies),” Paz said. "Everyone wanted to be part of it. He was the cool kid.” And Paz's Kenny Wayne is far from cool. He puts his band on hiatus before its first show and bad-mouths his grandmother, who is played by Reece's actual grandma, Jean Keef. But she doesn't mind the verbal abuse. "I like all of the characters (Reece) has working with him,” Keef said. "I have known (most of) them for years. It's just a lot of fun being around a bunch of boys.” Keef said she acts in her grandson's films because he's got a vivid imagination and plenty of ideas for films. Reece doesn't show any signs of stopping. "We just started making movies, and that was really fun,” Reece said. "(My actors say) 'Let's make a drama, or let's make a Western.' We can't possibly ever run out of ideas.”
→Featuring: Performances by Ali Harter, Kenny Wayne and Roy Mason.
→When: 9 p.m. Saturday. →Where: The Opolis, 113 N Crawford, Norman. →Admission: $3. →Information: www.starlightmints.com/opolis.html.