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Director Interview – LOUIS DOERGE

I’ve been fortunate to have met some very creative people in my life, and definitely count Louis Doerge as one of them. Louis and I work together at Vulcan Video, a DVD/Blu-Ray rental store and a true-blue mom-and-pop operation. Surrounded by a library containing cinema’s greatest and not-so-greatest, we invariably stumble into conversations about our favorite TV shows and films. I’ve always loved talking to Louis, whether about films, comics, or the latest Buffy season finale that blew our minds. This cat’s got factoids coming out the wazoo, yo – A real sponge for tidbit and ‘lore. Did I mention he writes his ass off? From reviews on the Boxing Uwe Boll blog to his own original material, he’s a prolific producer of the written word. Here we go back and forth in typical interview fashion as he discusses his new project, a short film called Lily and Lucille’s Hip Creature, starring (and executive produced by) actress Madison Burge of NBC’s Friday Night Lights. The tale of a young woman desperate to experience something supernatural in origin who comes in contact with a paranormal investigation team that’s a “hipsterized” version of Ghost Hunters.

Well hello, Louis.  After many talks about TV and cinema, it’s good to see you have something brewing. How did you start “Lily And Lucille’s Hip Creature”?  And was it always intended to be live action? Lily and Lucille is a short film that serves as a companion piece for a feature that I’m also developing called Way of the Gemini. After Madison Burge attached herself to the feature, we began discussing ways to increase interest. We thought making a short film– sort of a preview of what to expect– was an excellent way to go. It was always intended to be live action. However, my writing partner Per Berg and I have many animated and motion comic ideas in the works. One day… One day and money…

Was casting her difficult? That “Friday Night Lights” was a pretty big deal… I dug her on that show. Madison was sort of a lucky break, and I got in touch with her through a more unconventional route. No agents or anything like that. My good friend Dave McComb knew her from working on Friday Night Lights, and told her about some of my scripts. She agreed to read them, liked them, and now we’re making movies. And yes, I dug her on that show too.

Madison Burge

Should this lead to a full-length film, will you direct? And if not, who’d be your dream choice as director? Me directing is definitely a possibility. Originally we were developing the feature with a really brilliant director named Amat Escalante (Los Bastardos, Sangre), but his current feature has been put on hold, so he may not be able to for scheduling issues. Right now we are also talking to Gustavo Hernandez and Jorge Michel Grau (We Are What We Are) about directing the feature.

Nice! Will this be a “fx” film?  If so, are you busting out the CGI or relying on practical in camera magic? Not many special effects. There are doppelgangers, so that will require a mixture of digital and practical techniques.

STORYBOARD ART

Storyboard Art

During filming do you intended to be rough and tumble, like handheld/guerrilla style or can we expect a solid flatfooted approach? It’s funny that you ask that. I feel like a lot of filmmakers feel this strange pressure to pick a style. I’m really actually trying to avoid doing that. I just hope to do whatever works best for the movie. If it demands shaky cam, we’ll go with that. If we need a long 2 minute static shot, we’ll do that as well.

How big of a crew are you juggling on this short? It’s pretty bare bones. 10-12 people.

Any red shirts? Expendable crew to make “examples” of?  I think Shinedown taught us that “ target=”_blank”>every one of us is expendable.”

(laughs like a loon) Well played, Sir. Will this be funny in tone? Or are you playing it straight, letting the comedy come naturally? A little bit of both. It’s a serious movie, but I can’t escape jokes.

How hard was it to raise money on this bad boy?  I noticed your awesome star is a producer. Madison is the Executive Producer. She’s in charge of anything money.

Did you find it intimidating to talk to an established actress, or did she put you at ease right away? Madison is one of the nicest people I’ve met… and I don’t mean just in this industry. She’s very down to earth, and very intelligent. She has an insight into films and art that a lot of actors I’ve met don’t possess or even care to possess.

I hear Stephanie Hunt, also from Friday Night Lights, is joining the cast. How did that come about? Yeah, Stephanie’s a friend of Madison, so that’s how she got involved. She also just did another Austin movie with Bob Byington and Nick Offerman from Parks and Rec.

Stephanie Hunt

Where will you be shooting? Austin, TX…all over…

Are you a slave driver on set? Are you going to break your actors in a week from pushing them too hard?  I don’t know how I’ll be actually. I feel that because this is my script and it’s being realized as an actual film, I’m too grateful to be a slave driver. I feel very lucky and privileged to be working with everyone involved, so I can’t help but be appreciative and nice.

Once completed, are you going to shop it around, or can we hope to see it at coffee houses or better yet, the mighty ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE? There doesn’t seem to be too heavy a market for short films. We’ll make it available for people to see online at some point, but mainly use it as a way to insure the feature gets financed.

Let’s talk Music. Who’s attacking your score? Stephanie Hunt is going to be dropping a track and Madison’s covering the song “Sans Toi” from Agnes Varda‘s Cleo from 5 to 7.

Interesting! So when this project becomes a feature, will I have a small cameo?  If you answer no, explain yourself.  Of course.

I know you’re from the Midwest, but will you go wherever you’re career takes you, or are you a Texas talent now?  I’ll go wherever it takes me. Ideally, back to the Midwest one day.

Thanks for letting me pick your brain, Louis. To say I want you to succeed would be an understatement. May this venture prove fruitful.

Readers! Make sure to follow Isle of Cinema for more coverage on Louis Doerge’s exploits, and be sure to head on over to their facebook page to “like” it all over.

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December 12, 2011   No Comments

20 FANTASTIC FINALES FROM FILMDOM (3 of 4)

IsleofCinema and BoxingUweBoll have teamed up to bring you The TOP 20 CLOSING SCENES in film, as selected by our writers. We continue our countdown with part 3 – numbers 10-6:

10.) Jackie Brown (1997) – Quentin Tarantino

[by Louis Doerge]

Being that the foundation for Quentin Tarantino’s critical success certainly doesn’t stem from his ability to create great romances, it seems odd that the ending to Jackie Brown is (what I consider to be) one of the most romantic and bittersweet scenes in motion picture history. Throughout the film we’ve been subjected to scenes featuring flight-attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) and bail-bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster) falling for each other while trying to pull a heist on gun-dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). The film’s final moments consist of these two middle-aged, would be companions performing brilliantly, managing to pine for one another and simultaneously recognize that theirs is a relationship that won’t work. They kiss briefly, only to be interrupted by a phone call. While Max struggles to feign interest in his business call, he watches Jackie leave out his front door, then promptly requests his client call him back in thirty minutes. Given how strong-willed, calm and collected he’s been for the entire film, there’s something to be said for Max suddenly needing a moment – even if it is just a half-hour. Tarantino’s closing shot features Jackie driving away, lip syncing the words to Bobby Womack‘s “Across 110th Street“. Like Forster, Grier’s sadness is incredibly tacit, exposing a soft side that Tarantino hasn’t expressed since.

09.) Being There (1979) – Hal Ashby

[by Sean Carnegie]

After fostering the meteoric rise of simple-minded Chance (Peter Sellers) amongst Washington DC’s political elite, banker and power-broker Ben Rand (Melvyn Douglas) finally succumbs to his battle with anemia. As his coffin is carried to his crypt by his kingmaker friends, they discuss  in whispered tones the forthcoming presidential election and which candidate they should throw their support behind in hopes maintaining their political clout. The unanimous conclusion is Chance. Ever disinterested in their machinations – or the funeral itself for that matter – Chance wanders away through the forest. He comes upon a lake and, seeing something on the far side that strikes his fancy, miraculously walks toward it on the water’s surface. This parting shot beautifully captures the perfect, unadulterated innocence of a man who lives beyond the institutions of guile, malice or simple reason. He is, in every way, above the scheming and back room dealing that have become synonymous with American politics and, as such, unwittingly stumbled into the unlikely role of Idiot-Savant Messiah. As he walks across the calm waters you can’t help but feel a twinge of anxiety at the possibility of this sweet, nonthreatening man-child being swept up into a malicious and destructive world of which he has little to no understanding. The scene becomes even more bittersweet when you realize that this was Seller’s penultimate on-screen performance – and that he, like Chance, was walking steadily toward his destiny. Life is, indeed, a state of mind.

08.) Don’t Look Now (1973) – Nicolas Roeg

[by David Micevic]

Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now remains one of the most mesmerizing of all horror films because the majority of its terror emanates from within rather than manifesting as an external danger. It’s the story of a couple, John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie), tortured by the accidental drowning of their daughter. As they travel through Venice, John encounters a mysterious figure in a red raincoat—the same red raincoat his daughter was wearing when she died. Meanwhile, a blind seer tells Laura that she has spoken with her daughter, and conveys her sense of peace and tranquility in the afterlife. As Laura begins to accept her daughter’s death, John hunts relentlessly for her ghostly apparition among a swirling backdrop of mounting eroticism and tension. All this boils over into the movie’s startling conclusion, in which John confronts what he believes to be his daughter’s ghost, cornering it in an abandoned structure. The moment when the figure turns to reveal its ghastly true form remains stunningly horrifying not because it embodies the tired old “gotcha” moment synonymous with horror films, but because it marks the inevitable end result to an impossible obsession. The monstrous figure John stares down could be just about anything, it need not be a tangible threat (although, from a narrative perspective, it most certainly is), but rather the sad realization that those who cannot let go of the past face nothing but hardship and disappointment… which unfortunately for John Baxter also includes death.

07.) Dr. Strangelove (1964) – Stanley Kubrick

[by David Micevic]

Has there ever been a more iconic movie image than Major Kong riding a plummeting atomic bomb as if it were a bucking bronco, appropriately waving his Stetson wildly in the air? This single act of destruction, colored in broad comic strokes, sets in motion the entire famous ending sequence to Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb; an ending that takes its bizarre fascination with mankind’s annihilation and subverts it with satirical, incisive humor that lessens what objectively should be viewed as an immensely dreadful occurrence. The scene is loaded with off-kilter jokes: Nazi-defector Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers in one of three roles) lays out a post-apocalyptic contingency plan involving subterranean dwellings and a ten-women-to-every-man breeding plan that appeals to the libidinous General Turgidson (George C. Scott); the Americans start planning in advance for another arms race with the Soviets even as the world crumbles around them. To top it all off, the whole thing ends with a throwaway gag in which the wheelchair-bound Strangelove rises to his feet and declares “Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!” before the film launches into its legendary closing sequence of nuclear bombs detonating across the globe; all set to Vera Lynn’s soothing “We’ll Meet Again.” Often mimicked, rarely surpassed; given the lasting influence of this single scene and its morbid juxtaposition of destruction and comedy, it’s hard to imagine that initially Dr. Strangelove was intended to be a drama. Lucky for us, Kubrick knew better.

06.) Psycho (1960) –  Alfred Hitchcock

[by Nick Burd]

Heralded by some as the first psychoanalytic thriller, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho starts out as a simple tale of workplace embezzlement and turns into an analysis of a man who has lost his grip on reality to a degree that is both wildly dangerous and slightly comical. Even the few people out there who haven’t seen the film are familiar with the basics of the plot: a cross-dressing hotel manager keeps his mother’s dead body around the house and butchers one of his guests in the shower. While cultural familiarity and changing taboos may have forever lessened the film’s punch, many at the time labeled it an indulgent festival of gore and sex. Censors at the time were shocked by the opening scene which featured Janet Leigh in a bra, and the sound of Marion Crane, (Leigh’s tragic character) flushing the toilet caused quite a stir as well. So imagine how audiences felt at the end of the film when Marion’s sister Lila (played by Vera Miles) makes that grizzly discovery in Norman Bates’ basement. Now multiply that by a wild-eyed, dragged-up Anthony Perkins bursting in with a butcher knife. Needless to say, Psycho was unlike anything that came before it. But for all its campiness, the picture still manages to hold a firm, terrifying grip on the cultural consciousness. While its influence can be seen everywhere, from De Palma’s Dressed to Kill to Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs, there’s nothing quite as creepy Norman Bates thinking in his mother’s voice that he wouldn’t hurt a fly.

[admin. note: almost made it through an entire post without an ‘embedding disabled’ link. But alas, it was not meant to be.]

Hope you’ve enjoyed parts 12 and now 3. Be sure to tune in next week when we bring you the Finale to the Finales countdown post: part 4! And be sure to check out Boxing Uwe Boll for the countdown of the top 20 film openings!

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August 1, 2011   1 Comment

ISLE OF CINEMA + BOXING UWE BOLL = Pure Blogspherical Bliss!!!

The fine folks over at Boxing Uwe Boll asked us to contribute our individual lists of “20 Unforgettable Opening Scenes,” from which a master list was promptly selected. It’s now up for your enjoyment – just click the banner below (created by BUB’s administrator, David Micevic) and head on over there, to read a fantastic list which features contributions by our very own Rodrigo, Rockie, Marco, Sean and yours truly.

And stay tuned for our followup companion post, “20 Unforgettable Closing Scenes,” coming soon right here at IOC!

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June 23, 2011   No Comments

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