New Jersey’s Mark Nistico Premiers Blue Collar Boys at the Toronto Independent Film Festival

Written and directed by Mark Nistico, Blue Collar Boys explores the life of the “common man with calloused hands.” Inspired by true events, the story follows the strife and necessity that working class families experience and the realities that inevitably manifest in their daily lives.

“Everyone involved in the film, from the cast to those who helped out has some sort of background in blue collar. It’s about struggle through hard times, to put food on the table—a tribute to the working class,” states Nistico, the New Jersey native.

The plot is centered around 27 year-old construction worker, Charlie Redkin (Red) and his encounters with family and the extended family, aka the ‘boys’. From money struggles and pride issues to family honour, Blue Collar Boys pushes a story of faith and shies away from glamourizing conflict.

“A lot of the time film characters portray the extremely rich or the extremely poor, these are the true working class lives shown on screen. There is a lot of violence yes, but a lot of lessons learned you know? We really wanted it to be authentic and something that gives people hope,” Nistico furthers.

The film shows the daily grind that many men, women and families go through, those day to night experiences that rock between robotic tasks, rash decisions and looming turmoil. Some of the story stems from real experiences that Mark and his brother Micahel (also co-producer) endured.

“I grew up watching tough guy movies with my brothers and my dad: Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood movies like Hard Times, Dirty Harry and Death Wish. Also action movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.”

One scene that is especially gripping is when Red’s family is inside the home only to be seen arguing and somewhat hostile towards each other. This is one of the many scenes in the film that sheds public persona and replaces it with a true identity, one that tends to surface behind closed doors.

“I wanted to take the viewer through a suburban area to inside the home where you see how strife can break down a family. I wanted to show problems. I wanted to show the stress that gets to everyone and especially how Patty (who plays Red’s mother) worries about money and pride; basically how the nicest characters can break.”

Influenced by Hitchcock, Nistico was extremely conscious of the cinematic value, colour palettes and scene selections, making sure earth tones, saturations and fulcrum shots were melted together throughout the storytelling process.

Taking notes from Scorsese’ s scrapbook, the direction of characters in Blue Collar Boys made for scripted and unscripted acting. Some of the actors had room to improvise allowing for the roles to become genuine to the nature of the lifestyle.

You get a sense of realism through the pacing of the film and it’s through this pace that one follows a story through dialogue and visual circumstance.

“I want people to see this film and say this is a struggle everyday, and it’s okay to struggle like this. I’m not trying hide hate, it’s okay to have these feelings, but it’s not okay to act on them. I think the flawed characters are relatable and I want viewers to learn from these characters. It’s about appreciating the struggle.”

And just remember, ‘You’re Nothing Without Family’.

Watch the Trailer:

For more information on Blue Collar Boys