You are here: Home // Posts Tagged With the 5 ws & how

I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween and watched some spooky movies. Today we’re glad to put the spotlight on an indie horror film, ROWS from writer/director David W. Warfield. We talked with him about the movie.

ROWS

Who?
ROWS is a micro-budget feature. Genre-wise, it’s thriller/horror, but it’s more art house than grind house, and mostly psychological in its impact. The cast includes Hannah Bernal (nee Schick) as Rose, Lauren Lakis as Greta, Kenneth Hughes as Mark, and Joe Basile as Jack. No “names” here, but all have done a lot of work in front of and behind the camera, and came from LA to work on the film.

I was able to pull in a few veteran filmmakers to put in key positions: Keith Weiner has a history of being a key grip on major features, and is now a lawyer, so that is a great resume for a hands-on producer. My long-time colleague Scott Chestnut is a film editor and director, but he wanted to do cinematography on this shoot. He is talented in this area as well, and always knows more than anyone in the room tech-wise. Whatever you think of the film, you must agree that it is shot beautifully. Veteran composer James Guymon provided us a million dollar score. The other senior member of the crew was our location sound person, Bernie Ozol. Julie Bent is an up-and-coming production design and wardrobe person, and Andrew Vona was our tenacious lead editor. We rounded out the crew with young filmmakers in various positions, as well as a handful of college grad interns.

ROWS

What?
The story is about a young woman (Rose) who, while working for her developer father, must deliver an eviction notice to an old farmhouse where a strange woman — a squatter — has been living. The house is to be bulldozed to make way for Rose’s dad’s new subdivision. The strange woman puts Rose under a substance-induced spell, which propels Rose — and the viewer — into an enchantment where time and the laws of physics seem turned upside down. Rose must find the inner fortitude to break the spell and save her father from the strange woman — who we might call a witch.

We agreed early on to use the Canon 5D DSLR to shoot this film. We employed accessories such as rental prime lenses, follow focus rigs, and a steadi-cam. We also built a semi-permanent 60-foot platform with speed-rail dolly track, in the middle of a cornfield, to capture the various tracking shots the story required. We used a simple doorway dolly. Chestnut constructed a number of 4X8 foot bounce boards, which were excellent for creating fill in day exteriors. Because a mature cornfield has stalks 10 or 12 feet high, it is basically a limbo environment—so we could do a lot of cheating with the extensive cornfield scenes. Our shooting schedule, including pick-ups, was 17 days. Audio post was conducted at Studio Unknown, an excellent full-service audio post house in Baltimore.

ROWS

Where?
The film was shot in Maryland, outside of Baltimore.

ROWS5

When?
ROWS was released in 2016.

ROWS

Why?
As someone who worked in Hollywood for a bunch of years, It is incredibly liberating to make a film without the burdens of the conventional development, financing, and studio negotiating processes. The downside of micro-budget filmmaking is, well, micro-budgets. Filmmakers working in this way know that a successful micro-budget script must be designed for a very low-cash production. Multiple locations, large casts with numerous wardrobe changes, working with lots of vehicles, and unionized shoots are a few of the elements that micro-budgets generally do not allow. In that regard, a story must be conceived that can work logistically.

I have an artist’s mentality, which to me means that I derive fulfillment from creating things. Films are one of the things I love to create. Paintings are another. While I am great at organizing and planning and logistics, I would be a very crappy business person, and a worse accountant. I made this film because I saw an opportunity to pull together the necessary resources, human and otherwise, and because it is what I love doing. I guess they call that passion.

ROWS

How?
While the old barriers to distribution have been knocked down by streaming, the process is still complex and demanding. I opted to go with Nelson-Madison Films/Indie Rights for streaming distribution. While I have experience with theatrical distribution, in my judgment the smartest play was to work with Indie Rights to facilitate the deals with Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and the other meaningful platforms. The jury is still out on the “box office” performance of ROWS. Thus far I give Indie Rights good grades, and their extensive network and experience is very helpful. But the thing to know about distribution at this level is that the filmmakers could work 24/7 for months or years in promoting the film via social media. If you don’t have the budget to hire social media marketing staff, you have to do it yourself, and there are only so many hours in a day.

ROWS is kind of a weird film, and those who are expecting traditional horror tropes will probably be disappointed. Those who are open to the oddball construction of the film, and don’t have pre-conceived notions, are likely to dig it. In any case, I can say that this was the most gratifying and fulfilling filmmaking experience I have had, and I look forward very much to our next micro-budget endeavor.

Buy or Rent:

Follow the movie on:

Posted on November 3rd, 2017 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment

We had the pleasure of discussing Odd Brodsky, a quirky reflective comedy about Hollywood, with Cindy Baer. Cindy is the actress truned director who brought the comedy feature to life.

Odd Brodsky

Who?
Actress-turned-director Cindy Baer and her husband/cinematographer Matthew Irving co-wrote the screenplay for Odd Brodsky, which is a quirky comedy about a woman who quits her job to break into Hollywood. Audiences may remember Baer from her critically acclaimed debut feature Purgatory House, while Irving’s 30+ feature credits as a cinematographer include the box office “top ten” hits Waitress (which was recently adapted into a Broadway Musical) and Waiting (starring Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris). Baer also produced, edited and acted in Odd Brodsky, appearing in the supporting role of Sammy Bank.

The standout cast features leading lady Tegan Ashton Cohan, who lights up in the screen in her first starring film role as the title character Audrey (“Odd”) Brodsky. Her younger counterpart Ilana Klusky is equally charismatic and engaging. Lovable Matthew Kevin Anderson plays Audrey’s sidekick and biggest champion, while Scotty Dickert’s hipster character Spuds brings adventure and conflict to the screen. Supporting cast members includes Christina Moses (“The Originals” TV show), Elana Krausz (About Cherry) and stand-up comedian Leigh Forrest. John Alton and Cootie Queen actress Jesse Meriwether play Audrey’s parents, while actress/singer Jolie Adamson and Jim Hanks (portraying a parody of his drag queen God role from Purgatory House) round out the main cast. The majority of the 54 speaking roles in the film are performed by women, and many of the crew positions were women and minorities.

Producer Thomai Hatsios and her talented team from Metahara joined Baer’s company Free Dream Pictures to bring this ambitious project to life, which was also made possible by the generous support of executive producers Christo DiMassas, Sharon A. Fox and Tim Smith. Supervising sound editor Victoria Rose Sampson’s extensive sound credits include over 150 features, which go back to Return of the Jedi. Her talent was passed down from her trailblazing mother Kay Rose, who was the first woman ever to win an Academy Award for sound editing. Composer credit goes to David Gonzales, while visual effects were created by Mark Alan Thomas.

OddBrodsky4

What?
Odd Brodsky is a quirky comedy following the adventures of 30-something Audrey Brodsky, who’ll do just about anything to get her big break in Hollywood. Fueled by a grave-side promise to become an actress, Audrey moves from Hollywood, Iowa to Hollywood, California and finds great success! …working 40 hours a week at a steady desk job. Antics ensue as Audrey finally quits the office to create her new life as an actress. She hires a camera “crew” (just one guy who goes by the name of Camera One), and moves in with a happy-go-lucky roommate called Spuds. Life seems to come easily for Spuds, but not so much for poor Audrey, who tries so hard that she pushes away the very things she wants most. Insider jokes about living in Los Angeles bring forth some amusing social commentary about the importance we place on celebrity… but don’t be fooled: beneath the gags lies a bittersweet story that proves both inspiring and realistic. Although this tale is industry- and female-centric, anyone who’s ever felt stuck, disconnected or invisible will relate. In the end, we are reminded that validation and happiness have little to do with fame. What most people want is to be connected: with ourselves, each other, and the world.

Stylistically inspired by Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, the Coen Brothers Raising Arizona, and Jean-Peirre Jeunet’s Amelie, the world of Odd Brodsky features extremely earnest characters, a heightened sense of reality, a mandolin score, tableau compositions, and even a bit of magical realism. What makes Odd Brodsky different from most features at this micro-budget level is the large scope of the project. It’s a broad comedy (not horror or thriller) that spans multiple time periods, and was filmed at over 30 locations. It features a large cast of 54 actors and more than 80 music cues while incorporating dozens of visual effects that help to fully create the world of the movie. There’s also rain, smoke, kids, animals, and even a musical number during the end credits. And no story about Hollywood would be complete without a glimpse of the Hollywood sign.

Matthew Irving’s cinematography is traditionally-lit and ever-present, although attention is never drawn to it. Precise framing includes carefully-planned compositions and tableaux, as well as many “oners” where you will often find the camera focused on several characters in frame at once, allowing the audience to choose which actor to watch. VFX guru Mark Alan Thomas designed and composited dozens of “real world” effects, which help to fully create the world of the movie, including everything from the billboards and license plates, to the plane-pulling-banner, and even the Musso & Frank inspired sign, which was parodied as “Fred & Ginger’s”. David Gonzalez’s mandolin score incorporates classical pieces by Vivaldi and Bach, as well as providing contemporary new pieces and even a few parodies. Songs include “Precious Little Life” (an unreleased gem by Grammy-nominated Eric Bazilian of The Hooters), as well as Dr. Hook’s nostalgic “Sharing the Night Together”, which hit #6 on the song charts in 1978.

Odd Brodsky

Where?
Odd Brodsky begins in the fictional town of Hollywood, Iowa, and then moves to Hollywood, California. It was shot at 30 locations all around the Los Angeles area, including Burbank, North Hollywood, Silverlake, Hollywood, and also at the Laemmle Music Hall Theater in Beverly Hills.

Odd Brodsky

When?
The movie was shot over a period of 20 days in August and September of 2011, and completed just one week before its sold-out World Premiere at the 36th annual Mill Valley Film Festival in the San Francisco, in 2013. There it appeared in a slate of much bigger-budgeted, star-studded movies, seven of which went on to be Academy Award nominees and/or winners. Odd Brodsky then criss-crossed the country, screening at a total of 29 film festivals all over North America and winning 21 festival awards. It premiered on iTunes in November of 2016 and expanded to other platforms like Amazon and Vudu in early 2017 where its currently available for streaming.

Odd Brodsky

Why?
The initial spark for Odd Brodsky came to director Cindy Baer when she was winding down the festival run of her first feature Purgatory House. She’d received numerous personal emails and messages from audiences all over the country who had deeply connected with her debut film. She loved the feeling that movies could affect people is such a strong way, and hoped her next project could provide a similar experience — even if that seemed like a tall order.

Baer and her husband/co-writer Matthew Irving found themselves at a film festival in Massachusetts, and began musing about the idea that a person can be very skilled at one thing, and yet feel compelled to pursue something entirely different as a career. The writing duo quickly realized there was inherent comedy in this common and bittersweet disconnect.

Feeling particularly inspired by the tone of Wes Anderson films, they wanted to make a light-hearted film with hapless characters that audiences would be rooting FOR instead of laughing AT. This new project would also share the same overall theme as Baer’s first feature, which is that people are ultimately responsible for the lives they create for themselves. She and Irving put pen to paper and outlined the first story beats right there, in a little bed and breakfast.

This story seemed like the perfect opportunity to share a message of empowerment, reflecting one of Baer’s own life philosophies: if you follow your gut feelings, life leads you to where you’re supposed to be. And along the way, you’ll meet the right people, create opportunities, and find what you’re meant to be doing. As such, the movie is basically a love letter to anyone who feels stuck. Sometimes you just have to take that first step, do the work, and then trust that the rest will follow.

Odd Brodsky

How?
People can watch Odd Brodsky right now on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube Movies, etc… Learn more about the movie on its website, Facebook and Twitter.

Buy or Rent:

Follow the movie on:

Posted on October 7th, 2017 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment, Featured

We were thrilled to chat with director Jeff Orgill about his independent film, Boppin’ at the Glue Factory.

boppin_title

Who?
Boppin’ at the Glue Factory, directed by Jeff Orgill, is a satire which incorporates a variety of likeable characters spearheaded by the very talented Henry Dittman and Conrad Roberts. Ditman plays Eric Labudde, an addicted nurse who can get away with anything, and Roberts plays jazz man Tharin Sanders. Together they form an unlikely partnership all in the name of getting high.

This is lead actor Henry Dittman’s first leading role in a feature length motion picture. Conrad Roberts, as jazzman Tharin Sanders, has memorable roles in Mosquito Coast as Mr. Haddy and in Serpent and the Rainbow as Christophe. Mews Small’s, as Mary LeDoux, most recognizable role was as Candy, Jack Nicholson’s partying girlfriend in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest who deflowers Billy Bibbit.

The story is by Jeff Orgill and Hector Maldonado, with the screenplay by Jeff Orgill and B. Scott O’Malley (of Bleak Future fame). The film is being distributed by Indie Rights (Online) and Passion River Films (DVD).

Boppin At The Glue Factory

What?
Desperate for a place to live and for his next fix, drug-addled nurse Eric LaBudde (Henry Dittman) lands a job in a ramshackle convalescent home, where he develops a mutually enabling relationship with jazz saxophone-playing resident Tharin Sanders (Conrad Roberts). As Eric charms his way into the home’s drug cabinet, he inadvertently brings some light to the retirees’ grim lives.

boppin_1

Where?
Boppin’ at The Glue Factory takes place in St. Joseph’s Convalescent Home – a grim geriatric care facility. The shooting location was in Norwalk, California at the Metropolitan State Hospital at a decommissioned building that had also been featured in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood.

Boppin at the Glue Factory

When? 
Boppin’ at The Glue Factory finished post-production in 2009 and after an award-winning festival run was released through Prescreen.com, Passion River Films and Indie Rights for online distribution.

Boppin At The Glue Factory

Why?
When director Jeff Orgill discovered his video camera was missing and had been pawned by his junkie friend and roommate he was inspired to explore the relationship between addiction, friendship and co-dependency. Orgill fathomed issues about complicity, enabling behavior, trust and betrayal as he grappled with the personal horror of finding your best friend was not who he appeared to be. By transposing his personal predicament to the world of health care in an old age facility, Orgill was able to get some needed distance from this painful personal story, working in a more social and satirical commentary about a bleak American institution – the “old folks home” AKA “the glue factory.”

Boppin at the Glue Factory

How?
Boppin’ at The Glue Factory is available on VOD and DVD.

Online:

DVD:

Find out more:

We are thrilled to present the second indie film in our new column The 5Ws and How: I Was a Teenage Superhero Sidekick. We spoke to J Hanna, the writer/director of the lighthearted superhero drama.

I was a Teenaged Superhero Sidekick

Who?
Directed by J Hanna, I was a Teenage Superhero Sidekick is the story of an ex-sidekick finding his way in the world, post superhero life. Produced by Kathy McCurdy, who made this movie a reality… more on that later. Our cast of characters is as diverse as the actors are. Barrett Mitchell plays Kid Dynamic, aka Larry, the ex-sidekick of the title who has to find his way in the world and find out what makes Larry LARRY. Andre Antwan plays The Frog King, the top-of-his-game superhero whose villain girlfriend, Croc Queen, played by Nicol Razon, breaks his heart and sends him down a spiral of pain and sadness. Milena Mortati plays the shrink trying to help Larry navigate his life. Emily Sandifer is Susie, Larry’s current love interest and the leader of an anti-superheros organization. Bill Ferris and Eryn Joslyn round out the cast as Dynamic Man and Electric Maiden, the people from Larry’s past who drove him out of the business.

We have an incredible group of people behind the camera as well. Hasbro toy designer Vanessa Fung did our poster and flashback comic book-style motion graphic sequences. And the talented composer of My Little Pony, Kelly Davidson, created our fabulous score.

What?
Kid Dynamic, sidekick to Dynamic Man, quits the whole superhero racket and struggles with the transition… and with finding himself. His hippy-dippy headshrinker, who insists on outdoor yoga classes during psychoanalysis, helps him find the courage to go for the simpler life he yearns for. What he comes to understand is that life isn’t so simple, with or without the cape.

Basically the story is about finding out what makes you you and how you can come to see that. Seeing the truth in one’s self is a huge theme of the movie.

Where?
This movie takes place in a side reality to our reality. It is a world extremely similar to ours except, Superheroes/Villains/Powered People exist. Everything in this reality factors that in. From product branding, insurance, government employees… everything is affected by the powered entities. Also, LA…. it’s LA. Diverse, fun, sunny, and chock full of an eclectic mix of people, powered or not.

Behind the Scenes I Was a Teenage Superhero Sidekick

When?
It was made in 2013-2014 by a very dedicated, incredibly talented group of people. It is currently in the festival circuit, having screened at 13 festivals so far, winning awards for Best Comedy at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and Best Fantasy Feature at the Motor City Nightmares International Film Festival. We’ve screened at a wide range of festivals/geek cons reaching a diverse group of people. The feedback has been incredible.

Why?
I was on the hunt for my next creative outlet. I was going to do a short film but my producing partner kicked me in the butt and said, “make a feature… now!” So I wrote TSHSK and she and I developed it into the fighting-fit script it became. She and I (mostly she) then recruited the talented folks who helped make the piece that it is.

In the movie itself, the characters are motivated by a need to know themselves. It might sound corny, but everyone is on the hunt, whether they know it or not, to understand their place in the world. The characters stumble and grow and learn something. In the unlikeliest of places sometimes.

How?
Find us on Facebook! Currently we are still festival-ing. We are also on the hunt for the right kind of distribution. So, go to the Facebook page and find out where you can see us next. Know of a festival in your area? DEMAND they screen I was a Teenage Superhero Sidekick and send them our way.

Find out more:

Logo - 5Ws & How

We are very excited to launch our all new Indie Film column, The 5Ws & How, aimed at increasing awareness of completed independent films and how you can see them by getting the most basic info that journalists look for (hence our movie journalists and reporters on the column’s banner).

First up we talked to Evan Bass, who wrote, produced, and acted in the independent thriller, The Eve.

TheEve-Still-Beach

Who?
The Eve stars Al Thompson (Scott), Miranda Noelle Wilson (Lacey), Maria DiDomenico (Jenn), Rick Estabrook (Joey), and is written by and also stars Evan Bass (Harry). It is deftly directed by Ritchie Steven Filippi in his directing feature film debut and released by Indie Rights.

TheEve_Harry

What?
The Eve is the story of a group of late-20-something friends who used to be close in college but have grown apart over the years since. They decide to reconnect by spending New Year’s Eve on Martha’s Vineyard at one of the group’s family’s house. Unfortunately, it is not as blissful a reunion as they would have liked and tensions take a turn and an unwanted presence turns celebrating the New Year into surviving the night. It is a mix of classic thriller with homages to past movies and small humorous nods to the genre throughout.

TheEve-Docks2

Where?
The film takes place on Martha’s Vineyard, of course, down a secluded dirt road at a house by the water. The Eve was shot on location in Martha’s Vineyard, and one subtle horror nod within the film is a scene filmed in Menemsha on the same dock that one of the original Jaws scenes was filmed.

TheEve-ModernHorrors1

When?
Like all indie filmmaking, The Eve took a while to go from initial filming to completion and distribution. Principal photography for the film was shot in January of 2011, with additional photography in April of that same year. The film was released on VOD in April of 2015.

TheEve-ModernHorrors3

Why?
With indie filmmaking there is always a many-fold reason for a project. For The Eve, we wanted to make a film that was different than the normal gore porn and late teens/early 20s frolicking on the beach type films, and make one with a little more character development. With that, we tried to focus on grounding the film in a reality that the viewer could believe is credible and would allow an audience member to be with the characters every step of the action. We also just wanted to make a film and do it justice. A lot of the crew and behind-the-scenes members working on this project stepped up a level to work on this production. For many, this was either a larger role in a feature or a challenge they were taking on — and we did film an entire feature in the middle of winter on an island whose weather changed by the hour.

TheEve-Joey

How?
The Eve can be seen on iTunes, Vudu, xBox Live, Playstation Networks, Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube Rentals. The movie will be further shopped around for distribution at this year’s AFM and more in-depth information can always be found at TheEveMovie.com.

Check out these links to purchase The Eve: