Sunday, March 11, 2007

Grindhouse 101.5

Rodriguez today chaired the Grindhouse 101 panel at SXSW. More on that very soon - in the meantime, however, here's an interesting side-story.

Do you remember the Make Your Own Fake Trailer contest launched for this event? The winners were announced at the panel - Hobo With a Shotgun in first place, The Dead Won't Die and Maiden of Death in runner up positions.

A film ick fave from the selection, however, was Kevin Cacy's trailer for Adios Lobo. We dropped Kevin a line and asked him some questions - but you'll probably enjoy the entire deal more if you watch the clip before reading on.

Why did you enter the contest in the first place?

I had an idea for a western a couple of years ago that I've been writing, but to shoot a western in this day and age seemed kind of obsolete, so its been kind of a back burner project.

Last year I worked as an extra on a feature film and made friends with one of the actors whom I shared my idea with. She told me that I should shoot a trailer for it, so that I can have something to show people what I am capable of. I thought it was a great idea, so I purchased an old 16mm Arriflex camera and the wheels were in motion. Then about three weeks ago I get an email from her telling me about this SXSW contest and that it was time for me to shoot my trailer. I then got together with my movie buddies and we went over some ideas of how it might work ... obviously it wasnt enough time to shoot on film, so I called a photographer friend of mine Robin Lambaria... who happened to have a Sony PD-170 camera! She had just gotten the camera, and had never shot anything before, but I knew she had a wonderful eye for composition.... and it shows in the final product.

I wanted a few Dolly shots ... which most people know is very expensive to rent. I spoke to one of my friends, who is a very good welder, and he came up with the schematics for a 30 ft dolly track made out of reinforced steel. He gave me a shopping list and the next thing I knew ... I was at a steel factory buying a couple hundred feet of steel. The next couple of nights he welded his ass off until it was complete ..the day before the shoot! The next step was getting the authentic costumes ... I know a guy who is a Texas historian, and he lent us 1883 period correct costumes, hats, weapons, and props. The best part about it was that he allowed us to dirty and bloody up the costumes as much as we wanted too ... which was key.

What do you think/feel about the upcoming Grind House film from Rodriguez and Tarantino?

I am extremely excited about this project! The exploitation genre is one that I am fascinated by and the drive in theaters have always been a big part of my life growing up, along with the Alamo Drafthouse's Weird Wednesday series which keeps the spirit of the repertoire theater alive and kickin!

QT and RR know and respect the genre films of that time period, so much so that if you ever attend one of Tarantino's film festivals ..... you can see all of the influences it has on his upcoming project. I had the joy of sitting in on some of QT's private Midnite screenings at the Drafthouse last year when they were still shooting Grindhouse. We watched films like Carrie, From Dusk till Dawn, The Girl from Starship Venus, The House at the Edge of the Park and Vanishing Point... which were all of QT's personal 35mm prints!

I feel that the only way to truly experience these films are with a big crowd, or at the drive in, so I am looking forward to seeing Grindhouse at the Drive-in here in San Antonio!

What about the previous work of Tarantino and Rodriguez?

I love Tarantino's films... especially Jackie Brown, and I really enjoy his enthuisiasm and overall love of movies. Rodriguez is a filmmaker that I respect from a technical standpoint. From what I understand .. he doesnt use storyboards when he shoots. The man definitely has a great eye for action sequences. His favorite film of mine is El Mariachi. What an impressive film, on such a miniscule budget.

Who is it we see in your clip?

I am fortunate enough to have a great core of talented friends, so everyone that worked on the set were ready to do whatever was needed. The funny thing is that we had no rehearsal's before the shoot ... I had the actors in mind the days leading up to the shoot and when they showed up ...we put them in costume and told them what needed to be done in the scene. I cant stress how lucky that I was in getting the kind of performances out of everyone that I did considering they had little to no acting background. Bravo!

WHERE is it we see in your clip?

I shot on location at a working 87 acre ranch outside of San Antonio called Enchanted Springs Ranch. It was built a couple years back for the purpose of trying to get filmmakers in to shoot on their property, and I hope that my trailer shows how fantastic a location that they have there. The owner Steve and his family were very gracious in letting us stay there the night before and plan out our shot list for the next days shoot. Theres nothing like walking around a western town at night when you're the only ones there and the moon is full.

What's your background - particularly in relation to film?

I have no formal training from film school, but I did grow up shooting homemade horror and action films with my parents camcorder. My friends and I would get together and recreate scenes from trailers and other films. I also worked at a (now defunct) great laserdisc rental store in San Antonio for years, which allowed me to watch films in their widescreen format... before dvds hit it big. My collection of movies goes over a thousand... dvd, laserdisc, tape, and 16mm film prints... so you could say that my home theater is my film school.

Over the last few years I have worked on a few feature and independent films doing whatever I could to get on set......acting, boom operator, extra work, gopher, costumes, props .... whatever it took to be around the camera and crew to absorb the whole process.

Tell me why you're such a fan of Warren Oates.

The films of the 70's were the greatest decade in cinema history... and Warren Oates had a chance to work with some of the best directors in their heyday! Malick, Peckinpah, Hellman, MgGuane, and Milius... pulled his best performances out. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is one of ten greatest films ever made. His potrayal of a pseudo Sam Peckinpah is absolutely amazing and I think if the Academy had any balls.... he would've won! Oates had a knack for playing sleazy, down on his luck, but doesnt give a good God Damn type of characters to a T.... the epitomy of cool.

How would you describe your approach in making this trailer?

Since I am such a fan of the Spaghetti Western genre ... I knew that it was what I wanted to do for this contest. The films of Sergio Corbucci, Leone, Sollima, and Martino have influenced me so much that I would call our production [group] 4 Sergios. My friends were extremely enthusiastic about the project, so it was just a matter of getting everything to fall into place. My approach would be that of a serious Spaghetti Western, which I knew would differentiate us from the pack. I've gotten some flack for making something that doesnt fit most peoples criteria of a Grindhouse film, but I knew that SW's were a huge part of the Grindhouse movement, especially the ultra-violent nihilistic films of the 70's, so I have no regrets for what we made.

Are you pleased with your trailer?

I am extremely proud of everybody that helped out in the making of this trailer! My friends worked better than a lot of professional units that I've worked with before. To think that we shot everything in just over 11 hours, shows how efficient our team really was. Yes, I am damn proud of our trailer.

How about the other trailers popping up online? How do they strike you?

I like every trailer that I've seen so far. The enthusiasm of all who entered the contest was overwhelming, and I am happy that there is so much competition. Its great to see how creative people had to get since we were all working on no budgets. I have been in contact with some of the other filmmakers involved, just to give them support from a fellow enthusiast.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Looks fine, though I can't really judge it when my bastarding speakers aren't working.

My favourite piece in what will come to be known as the faux-spaghetti grindhouse style remains the video to Muse's "Knights Of Cydonia" by Joseph Kahn.