We had a chance to talk with writer/director Mauro Ferritto, whose latest film The Pre-Drink hit Amazon last year. Learn more about his comedy about feuding best friends.
The cast of The Pre-Drink includes Paul Rabliauskas, Jared Story, Mike Campbell, Nick Christie, Jessina Cheffins, Andrea Ginter, and Georgianna Oakley. Our director of photography was Zach Wolf, sound was Mathew Riediger, and I produced, wrote, directed, and edited it.
I knew I wanted to shoot a comedy feature, so I approached a few comedians in Winnipeg who I’ve been watching live and have been following for a few years now. I approached Paul first to see if he wanted to be in the movie, and he gave me a quick yes, to which I was surprised and elated. His close friend is Jared Story and I knew if he had a familiar face on set with him, the acting would come out more naturally and be a win-win. Jared is also a hilarious comedian and they played off each other well. Mike and I went to the University of Winnipeg together taking film. and we have kept in touch ever since. He nailed the part of Noah. I auditioned Nick for the lead and Jessina, Andrea, and Gerogrianna auditioned and it was an easy yes from my end as they’re all funny in their own ways with great acting chops.
Farmery Brewery were immensely kind and generous enough to give us free beer to use in the shoot. Which I was really happy about because I hate seeing water in beer bottles in movies, or worse yet, every label of every beer ripped off. It was great to have a real beer company (and real beer) in the film.
The story is about the complications of friendships. It touches on power struggle, deception, coming of age, and letting go of what you can’t control. The movie centers around four friends, two of which are fighting due to rumors that one slept with the other’s girlfriend, and one friend is in the middle trying to hash things out. Noah (Mike) is there as a buffer and a close acquaintance. Nick’s character, Dean, attempts to mend things, in his own way, and have everything be back to how they were – and all of this an hour before his wedding, where he also needs to pick one best man.
It’s a (mainly) one location comedy, so it’s something of a pressure cooker in one home with moments of humor peppered throughout. This movie was financed by my Visa, so using my house was really the only option. Having comedians as my actors, and writing something that had high conflict to keep the story moving and interesting, was informed by the budget, and was a great filmmaking experience.
Most of the movie takes place in a house (Dean’s house). We filmed outside at Assiniboine Park, and over the Moray bridge, to grab a few exterior scenes, but the bulk of the movie is several rooms in a house.
We started shooting in April 2016, set in present day, and it was released in January of 2020. We shot every weekend for about 6 months, then came the edit. And I’ll admit, it took an embarrassingly long time to edit – not so much the actual cutting and sound and color grading (although that is a time consuming task, and I now have a new respect for editors), but for me to be courageous enough to finish the edit instead of giving up. At the time, and I think many filmmakers go through this, when you’re in the editing suite with your movie and you see a first cut, it can be tough to look at every frame you decided was good at the time. Now you have fresh eyes thinking “what the hell is this?” Scorsese has said that if you’re not physically ill when you’re editing, something’s wrong – and now I totally get that.
Why I made this film? I was itching to shoot a feature film and direct- no matter what that entailed. So you start looking at what you can’t do and what you can do, and that informs the kind of movie you’re going to make. I had access to some really great comedians, I had my house, and I had a friend with a decent DSLR, and a lens we split for. That all pointed to a one location comedy. So with that in mind, I started working on the screenplay and a story within that frame.
Why are the characters doing what they’re doing? Dean loves nothing more in his life than his friends, and he’s on the verge of losing his two best friends. I think we can all relate with having a falling out with a friend in your group, and you can’t all hangout any more. You almost have to pick sides, or at least schedule your hang outs separately, and Dean is doing everything in his power to avoid this. So he lied, cheated, fought, and manipulated his way to try and fix things. Of course that never works out.
Paul’s character, Gabe, and Jared’s character, Zach, are on the outs. Gabe is accused of sleeping with Zach’s girlfriend, Alyssa, and Zach wants nothing to do with this friendship anymore. When drunken secrets spill they deal with their issues and do hash things out, but things are never the same. People grow up, you grow out of your friends, and we all move on in one way or another. In a way, this is a coming of age movie for guys in their 30s, with ambiguous morals but grounded in reality.
You can watch The Pre-Drink now on Amazon:
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