Charley Cvercko Posts

Coming Soon June 5, 2012

clearspacer Coming Soon June 5, 2012

Four more great titles from our efforts to scour the globe for quality indie movies. Watch the trailers here and stock up on popcorn for next Tuesday’s release!

33829thumb Coming Soon June 5, 2012“Jesus de mi vida (Dear Child Jesus)”
11 min 2009 Spain

“Designated”
 13 min 2010 US

Kenbe La (Hold On)
 82 min 2011 Haiti

Overload
106 min 2009 US


Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

clearspacer Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGankebunnyA Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGankegrungy Midwestern winter. A torn-up yard with a season’s worth of dirty snow, pushed into piles to await the fate the spring thaw holds for them. A boy drags a stick along a wooden fence, like boys have done for as long as there have been sticks and wooden fences. His forward progress is blocked by a man with hairy arms and bowed head sitting cross-legged on the cold, wet ground, his back against the fence,  wearing a bunny suit that’s seen better days. The boy stops, apparently determined to figure out why a man in a bunny suit is sitting in the snow.

I’ll stop there. What happens next in this short-short (under five minutes) is a rapid descent into a very dark—and very funny—comic hell. You have been warned.

Here’s my interview with “Bunny Boy” filmmaker Brandon LaGanke. [Note: Brandon’s first question, before we started the interview, was if he was allowed to use the F word. This kind of set the tone for the interview.]

bunny border Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

CC: The first question that popped into my mind after watching “Bunny Boy” was something along the lines of, what the literal fuck? How did this idea become so important to you that you had to commit it to the eternal medium of film?

BL: Haha. Yeah, I get asked that a bit. I wanted to make people hate bunnies forever. Partly kidding. At first, I wanted to tell a very simple story that was both shocking and cinematic. My audience was film festivals. I’ve been to so many fests and I hated watching 35 minute shorts. I wanted a short punch. Then, as I was writing it, I felt like it was a very ambiguous situation. Are these bunnies terrorizing this town? Is this one of many homes? Is this a wife and husband killing team? Etc. Then, add humor. Believe it or not, this is a comedy.

CC: Yeah, I get that; most of Hitchcock’s movies are comedies, so I don’t think of “comedy” as necessarily a limiting label.

BL: Totally. Plus my wife hates kids, so that influenced the situation.

CC: Why bunnies?

BL: Bunnies. Okay. I’ve always found them to be both creepy and cute at the same time. Which is sort of the tone of the piece. But why not a penguin—which essentially does the same thing? Well, two reasons: a penguin suit is hard to find, and two who the fuck wears a penguin suit in the Midwest (where the film is based)?

DONNIE DARKO 2 Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

Donnie Darko

CC: Bunnies have been the universal go-to animal for decades: Harvey, Night of the Lepus, Donnie Darko, etc.

BL: Totally. Transparency is key in short filmmaking.

CC: There’s something about the image of a rabbit, let alone a guy in a rabbit suit, that offers a lot of potential as a cinematic image, to go all academic for a minute.

BL: Yeah, I wanted to make sure we cast a guy with hairy arms. Wanted to clearly make the connection that this is in fact a man under there and not a real bunny. I know many people who would think six-foot bunnies with trigger fingers exist if it were not for that hairy detail.

bunny border Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

BL: Most of what I write is some sort of nostalgic childhood fear. Going to the Easter Bunny growing up in Ohio and sitting on that sweaty knee in the mall wasn’t the best experience.

CC: This is a pretty nasty dark comedy—or comic horror story—is that your thing? Do you see other kinds of stories in your future?

BL: It’s sort of my thing. Right now at least. I do lots of genres. For example I’m just now finishing a feature doc on a severely handicapped gospel singer who travels the world. But the film I’m currently in pre-production on is similar in its intent.

CC: Can you talk about the film in preproduction?

BL: It’s about a man, Harold, who constantly relives one event in his past over and over again. He stages a family that he holds hostage as if they’re a part of some play in his head. The thing is, you don’t realize what’s happening—that they’re not a real family unit—until the very end. There’s subtle details to trigger those thoughts but it’s not enough. It begs you to watch it a few times. It’s set in 1987 (but really it’s modern day).

CC: Is it a feature?

BL: No, it’s a short.

CC: You see it as a comedy?

BL: No, I think there will be some humorous parts but there’s no comedic punchline.

CC: Presumably it will have dialogue. There’s no dialogue in “Bunny Boy.” Are you finding it harder to write with dialogue?

BL: Yes, there’s dialogue. No, not at all. It’s easier to cast, that’s for sure. Casting a young boy who has to act purely through facial expressions is hard. We had a lot of great kids come in. Teymur [Guliyev] was the best. He authentically looked confused and curious when he saw that bunny. Kids try too hard. And a lot of them think they know what they’re doing and therefore are hard to [direct]. Teymur was a pro.

CC: You cast the bunny based solely on arm hair?

BL: Ha, yeah, and weight. Most importantly someone who didn’t care about getting paid and didn’t mind wearing a homemade bunny suit in the middle of the winter. His ass got pretty wet in that snow and I’m pretty sure the headpiece was itchy. My dad played the bunny. (Just kidding. that’s not funny on any level. Omit that.)

CC: OK, I’ll substitute Harvey Weinstein, he has pretty hairy arms.

tumblr m4gcyxjZka1qb9oa5o1 1280 Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

Robin Williams's Arms

BL: Robin Williams.

CC: How much of a problem was the snow? It’s clearly real.

BL: A big problem. We had to shovel it all out to lay the track. The owners hated us. The lawn got all fucked up. You’re not supposed to shovel snow on a yard. And then lay 300 pounds of track.

CC: Noted. How about continuity? How long was the shoot—were there thaws or snowfall during?

BL: It was one day. Didn’t snow at all. But light was a problem. We had to move. Luckily we had a great crew.

CC: Did you have two different bunny suits? Or is that why we never see the couple in a two shot?

33828 still31 Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGankeBL: Yeah we could only afford one suit.

CC: Did you buy it or make it?

BL: I had someone make it for me. A great costume designer made it from scratch based off an image I like from the early 40’s. A creepy bunny photo.

CC: How big a part of your budget was that?

BL: A few hundred bucks.

CC: How big was your budget overall?

BL: About $5,000. Shot on the RED. That was helpful; no transferring costs.

CC: How’d you go about raising your budget?

BL: Extra money from past jobs I had laying around. No one funds shorts. I hate asking people for money. It’s a problem. I really don’t understand Kickstarter for films. Pisses me off.

CC: Yes, a filmmaker has to spend most of his being a politician just to fund a project.

BL: A friend of mine raised $20,000 to release an album. That I understand. Short films, not so much.

bunny border Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

CC: What do you think of as some non-film influences? Music, art, books,etc.?

BL: Music, tons. I don’t really read books. It’s another problem.

CC: I know it’s hard to name your favorite music, but what comes to mind first?

BL: I live in Brooklyn and I’m influenced by a lot of friends and bands that come out. I like Friends, Tennis (even though they’re from Denver I think), Bon Iver, tUnE-yArDs, blah blah blah. Wait, only one of those is from Brooklyn. Haha. But really what inspires me are locations. I think John Hughes had to work backwards from locations. Being in a great location, your mind wanders. At least mine does.

CC: Describe what you mean.

BL: When I visit a place. Holiday or simply passing though, I develop stories for that place. Also, I always start with the setting first. Such as, I want to make a Midwest story. Basically, locations inspire me. Let’s put it that way.

CC: Did you imagine the snowy yard first then, for “Bunny Boy”? Or just “Midwestern town, wooden fence, snow”? What was your original image that became “Bunny Boy”?

BL: I imagined a snowy backyard in the Midwest and I said to myself: “What could happen there? Oh, yeah. A boy could be shot by a giant bunny. Perfect. Done.”

bunny border Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

BL: Another film I’m writing is about a Native American band from the 70’s called Redbone. Remember that song “Come and Get Your Love”? I’ve been talking with a few living band members. Gathering up all of their insane stories. Like, when they stayed in Hitler’s mansion in Germany. Or when Jimi Hendrix told them to start an all-Native American band. And I started that out because I wanted to make a film  that was based on an Indian reservation.

clearspacer Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

clearspacer Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

CC: Is this a fictionalized script? Or a documentary?

BL: It’s both: narrative and doc. It jumps back and forth.

CC: You’ve mentioned a couple documentary projects. Do you see both in your future, narrative and documentary? Like Herzog?

BL: Everything. I never want to be pigeonholed. I make a lot of music videos too. And co-created a production company called Ghost+Cow films.

CC: Talk about making music videos. Does the format limit you at all? Making the images specifically to represent the music? Or is it like when poets say writing in meter can be freeing somehow; ike, the structure is taken care of, so you can concentrate on other things.

BL: Yeah, it’s an amazing way of perfecting your craft. I don’t find it limiting at all. The only limiting part is you’re doing it for someone else—a band, a label, a company. When given full freedom you can go wild. And it doesn’t always have to make sense.

CC: Right, you have to get someone else to sign off on it. Has that been a problem? Not to name names or anything.

BL: Sort of, yeah. You have to convince them that it’s their idea.

bunny border Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

CC: What are some of your favorite dark comedies?

BL: Better Off Dead. Was that dark? Should have been. He tried to kill himself. That’s dark. Loved it. Um, Raising Arizona was great. Loved FargoFalling Down. Beautiful film.

CC: You’re kidding, right?

BL: Haha. Depends.

CC: Unless you see it ironically, as a comment on reactionary misogynists—do I remember it wrong?

BL: I see everything ironically. I’m a cynical wannabe hipster.

CC: Have you seen Montenegro? Possibly my all-time favorite dark comedy.

BL: Never seen it. Tell me why.

CC: Most of the humor happens in little surprises, so I’ll try to be general. it’s made by Dušan Makavejev, whose previous films were all pornographic political satires. But Montenegro was relatively accessible—Ebert gave it four stars, for whatever that’s worth. But the director’s iconoclasm is there in the cracks.

BL: I will say one thing, in all honesty: I think there’s a huge market for beautiful porn. I mean well shot. Not in terms of narrative. That should never exist but in terms of production value. We have all the tools now. Why not find a way to sensationalize the art in the most beautiful way possible? Kubrick would have been doing it if still alive. Trust me.

CC: I agree. There are more and more good films not shying away from appropriately contextual explicit sex.

BL: Oh, one more [favorite dark comedy]: Nine to Five. Loved that film. It was so creepy, man—the environment. Scared me.

bunny border Believe It or Not, This Is a Comedy: an interview with filmmaker Brandon LaGanke

To see why the fact that Nine to Five scares him is a little difficult to grasp, watch “Bunny Boy.” Leave yourself some recovery time for afterward.

New Releases May 29, 2012

clearspacer New Releases May 29, 2012

We have a great crop of new releases this week. (See them all on the New Releases page at Indieflix.)

33992 movie poster2 New Releases May 29, 2012Bunny Boy
5 min 2010 U.S. 
Comedy/Thriller
“Bunny Boy” is a rapid descent into a very dark—and very funny—comic hell. You have been warned.
Featured on the blog.

The Institution
14 min 2006 US
Horror/Thriller
In this horror short directed by IndieFlix’s own Brad LaMar, three forensic college students, Bryan, Kate and Jonathan must investigate an unsolved case for their final graduating assignment. School kills.

Murphy’s Shorts
3 min 2009 US
Animation/Comedy
A short animated film for children that plays off “Murphy’s Law of the Universe,” poking fun at a boy who is very impressed with himself.

33932thumb New Releases May 29, 2012So This Priests Walks into a Bar
11 min 2011 US
Drama
When a priest walks into a bar, one seemingly like any other, he seems to know everything, and uncovers a whole chain of deceptions. What’s his secret?

clearspacer New Releases May 29, 2012

Unsigned
96 min 2011 US
Documentary: Arts
A documentary that follows three bands that refuse to give up on their dream of making it big, over the course of one year that will change everything.

Coming Soon May 29, 2012

Watch the trailers for next week’s Indieflix releases!

33992thumb Coming Soon May 29, 2012“Bunny Boy”
5 min 2010 US 

“The Institution”
 14 min 2006 US

“Murphy’s Shorts”
 3 min 2009 US

“So This Priest Walks Into a Bar”
 11 min 2011 US

Unsigned
96 min 2011 U S

New Releases May 22, 2012

We have a great crop of new releases this week. (See them all on the New Releases page at Indieflix.)

33737 movie poster New Releases May 22, 2012Dinner With Fred
24 min 2011 U.S. 
Drama/Romance
An 86-year-old poultry science pioneer tells his reluctant grandson the story of how chickens saved his life in 1944 Canada.
Featured on the blog.

Death of a Pop Star
15 min 2010 US
Drama
Inspired by the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Jackson, “Death of a Pop Star” imagines the final moments of a music superstar’s life.

Looking Forward to Yesterday
21 min 2011 UK
Drama/Romance/SciFi & Fantasy
The story of a man experiencing his life—and his love—in reverse.

 

33727 poster banner New Releases May 22, 2012Polaroid Song
20 min 2012 France
Drama/Foreign/LGBTQ
1991, Lise is 18. Gulf War ends, USSR collapses, Nirvana gives birth in a pool and three girls create the rock band Periodink. Their first concert will be for Lise the time to get through the age of adolescence.

White Knuckle
24 min 2010 US
Comedy

Howard Chuckle has a choice to make; a choice that will shape his life. His future will be determined by deciding what’s most important to him-his dream girl or dream job? Only a kooky Chinese restaurant owner and sushi chef can be his guardian angels during his time of need.