Waunakee teen immortalized in independent film
“I always wonder how I’ll be remembered. But I’m afraid that’s out of my hands.”
In her last days, 17-year-old Madi Aiello knew what she wanted to be remembered for.
“The day that Madi told me that the chemo treatments were ending and there was nothing more to be done, she asked me and all of her friends to never forget her voice. And that has stayed with me through all these years,” says Madi’s friend Leah Wasylik.
Madi, also known as Mattie, died in March of 2011 after a nine month battle with Leukemia. Eight years after her death, her legacy lives on through an independent short film.
“I definitely went down memory lane of old YouTube videos that we had and different photos and really tried to get her voice down and remember her mannerisms,” says Wasylik, who portrays Madi in the film.
‘Frosting: A Memory’ takes place on Madi’s last birthday, as she gives a final goodbye to close friends. Wasylik was with Madi on both her last birthday, and the goodbye party that the film is based on.
“Since her death, and I was so young when it happened, I can see now that at 17, 18 you’re old enough to know what’s going on, but I don’t think we have the capacity to rationalize it,” Wasylik tells NBC15 News.
Originally from Waunakee, Wasylik now lives in Los Angeles where she is pursuing a career in acting. What started as a writing prompt soon formed the first drafts of ‘Frosting: A Memory.’ Soon, she was stepping into a character she knew and loved.
“I was going back and forth with it, but since Madi is such an important person to me, and an important factor of the movie … I didn’t want to put that pressure on anyone else but myself,” she says.
For the role of one of her closest friends, Wasylik was finally granted a Screen Actor’s Guild card, a coveted clarification that now puts her in the union. For that, Wasylik says Madi is “still working her magic.”
“It's not an understatement to say that I've got a guardian angel helping me up there,” Wasylik says with a smile.
‘Frosting: A Memory’ does not have an official release date yet, but will likely premiere in 2020. Viewers are granted access to the entire film if they make a donation to the production.
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‘Frosting: A Memory’ was written by Leah Wasylik, produced by Leah Wasylik and Michael Strauss and directed by Michal Strauss. The film is now being submitted for both national and international film contests.
NBC15 News reached out to Madi’s family for a comment, but have not heard back.