Beavis, Butthead, BAFICI

April 24th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. Barely. I just got home from ten days in South America’s wildest and most dangerous jungle – Buenos Aires – where Brad and I were presenting The International Sign for Choking for the first time ever at the world’s greatest film festival – BAFICI (read an account of my 2010 experience here).

A lot just happened, you guys. I think I’ll do general impressions first, followed by a series of pix/vidz, and finally, exciting news at the bottom.

So, I’ve been to BAFICI four times now. It’s always amazing. The programming is so huge and diverse, without sacrificing quality. All of the screenings are well attended. The general energy level is positive and very high. I’ve made some friends over the years, so it was a strenuous week as the demands of a proper festival experience and a proper social life (they don’t overlap much) tugged me in opposite directions. By day four (after three consecutive sunrises) I’d come down with a full blown head cold that’s still lingering, but in spite of the physical consequences I think that the phrase “full success” is in order.

Things went really great as far as screening the movie is concerned. Perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise was the amount of fellow N. Americans who went to see it and felt compelled to come talk to me afterwards. It’s such an exact demographic, and yet an ideal one. I guess I underestimated just how many of us there are down there, so it was unexpected and wonderful not only to have these people in the audience but to receive such a positive response from them. The Argentine public was receptive as well, and seemed to agree that the movie captures its city effectively (despite containing almost zero recognizable locations). I’m very pleased and excited, but also terrified now to be taking it on the road to see what the rest of the world thinks.

But BAFICI’s real treat is in the other movies you get to see should you choose to take full advantage of the festival. Unless I’m forgetting any, I saw fourteen. For me, the best one (which I saw at a 10:30am press screening with almost zero prior knowledge) was De jueves a domingo. I can’t remember the last time I was so excited about a movie. Store the title in your memory and watch out for upcoming screenings.

Anyway, let’s do pix/vidz now.

So I got there on Friday the 13th (unharmed, thank you) and even though I hadn’t slept in twenty-four hours I wanted to start the festival off right by going to see TABU. This movie is being called a masterpiece, and it pretty much is. I didn’t fall asleep at all during it! Following the screening we immediately commandeered our hosts’ apartment to throw ourselves a welcome home party:

The world premiere screening of the movie was on Sunday evening. It was sold out. Our buddy Coco grabbed this video of the line outside the theater:

After the movie, co-star/genius Roger Delahaye and his mad scientist buddy Hernán played a show as Telescuela Técnica. Roger is on the left playing the laptop and xylophone. Hernán is on the right playing the syringe and frying pan. I think this was during their Black Hole Sun cover:

Our last screening was on Wednesday afternoon. That night was the OLGA/DENVER show. They are both so good. It was amazing:

By our last weekend I was feeling well enough to dabble in the nocturnal world again. Brad and I had a late dinner at Roger’s place along with his genius girlfriend and general superhero Martín Crespo. Afterwards we went to see one of my favorite bands. That’s me in the front with my hand up:

We spent our last night at Julio’s place, a consistently bizarre speakeasy with Kabbalistic undertones. A fast-talking mystical police officer rolled us up a smokey treat and let us try on his uniform.

And that was BAFICI 2012, an unsurprisingly amazing time. Now, onward to two very exciting announcements regarding The International Sign for Choking that probably should have been made even sooner.

First of all, Brad and I will be heading to Lisbon in just a couple of days for our EUROPEAN PREMIERE at IndieLisboa. Bummer Summer played there last year and I couldn’t make it, so I’ll be going twice as hard this time around and I can’t wait.

Next, following immediately on the heels of our Lisbon screenings, will be our NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE at the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore. I’m really so excited about this one and I don’t know how to make that clear enough. In addition to Brad and I, Nandan, Sophia, and Rob are going to be there too. It’s going to be the social/frito pie event of the season.

More updates soon!


March 21st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here, ending our longest blog-silence to date. Justifying an absence of this magnitude is not easy, and I can’t pretend to have any real excuse for it. It’s been a cold, dark winter…

But with the recent heralded arrival of Daylight Savings Time comes the promise of Spring and, accordingly, a new era of rich and glorious blogging. May this entry be the first of many…

To begin with the eponymous end, Bummer Summer will screen at the Bradford International Film Festival in England next month, thus bringing to a close the film’s abnormally drawn-out, two-year festival run and rounding out its countries of exhibition to an even ten. I had the pleasure of meeting the man responsible for Bradford’s Uncharted States of America section in Vienna (where he moderated my Q&A’s), and judging by the job he’s done – as well as the rest of the excellent program – I can’t imagine a finer farewell festival. Details are available here.The film will not simply fade away, however, as wider availability is close at hand. As always, this blog will be the best source of information when the time does finally come.

But as one festival run ends, so does another begin. And thus it is with great pleasure that I am finally able to announce the endlessly thrilling world premiere of The International Sign for Choking at BAFICI, a piece of news that I’ve been sitting on anxiously for the past few months. This is a great film festival. I’ve been three times already, and the energy and enthusiasm of the filmgoers have consistently gone unmatched. I won’t deny that the slow, steady string of A-list festival rejections was grueling, but waiting to hear back from BAFICI was perhaps the biggest stomach churner of all. There truly is not a more appropriate starting point for the film. Aside from the fact that BAFICI audiences are overwhelmingly young, good-looking, and well dressed, the prospect of sharing TISFC‘s virgin projection with all of those who were there to help make it happen is so special and exciting that I can hardly contain myself. Although no dates have officially been set, the festival runs April 11 – 22, and more information will ultimately be found here. Green and Country Story are also highly recommended.

The fun does not stop there. High-profile event producer and beloved friend of TISFC Martín Crespo is back to his old hijinks, and has prepared a genuine doozy of a premiere party for us. Anyone within a two-country radius of Buenos Aires would be wise to mark their calendars for Wednesday, April 18th. Not only will the musically brilliant, brutally attractive TISFC actors OLGA be performing, but so will their super-famous Chilean counterpart Dënver, who shared the party’s flyer with their 20,000 Facebook fans today.

As though all of this were somehow not exciting enough, I put together the following event trailer for maximum hype:

That’s all of my news for now. If you supported TISFC via Kickstarter, your time has finally come! DVDs will go out soon! Meanwhile I’ll be back within the next couple of weeks with news of another upcoming screening, and then several more weeks after that with perhaps the most exciting festival announcement I’ve ever had the pleasure of making.

32 Degrees

January 8th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Nandan here.

Hawaii is past, for me, as well as for Nick and Tor. It was weird to be there on their last day, and then after they were gone. I’m not sure why they let me take over their lives for the past 4 weeks, although I’m sure by the time they realized what was happening I had already comfortably installed my bedding on their couch, and my movie into their daily schedule. Before I came I wanted to be sure that everything we did was based on group decision-making, and that we wouldn’t film more than was fun for everyone. But filming inherently becomes a chore, no matter how free-for-all or relaxed you try and make it – it reaches a point where you have to film to finish what you started, and at that point it’s hard to make it anything besides a responsibility. At least I haven’t figured out how to do that. Regardless, it was sweeeeeeeet that these guys let me make a movie with them, and I really really really just have to pretend I believe it will be something of value for them. At least they know what they shouldn’t get themselves into again.

In any case, I sat down today to start organizing footage, but ended up making this:

Newhard Nutrition (Newtrition)

December 29th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. I’m at home now, and I’m not sure what’s happening back on old Oahu, but as of my departure production was all wrapped up but for a few minor loose ends. I’m sure that Nandan will be around soon with a final batch of stills, but I’m here for a different reason…

While it may have become unclear throughout the years, one of the founding purposes of this blog was to share our process for the benefit of all those interested in masterpiece creation. And you know, hundreds of people have asked me (even thousands perhaps), “Zach, how do you guys make movies for so cheap?!” And one of the things that I always tell them is that food is key. Keeping a cast/crew well fed can really bloat your budget, but here at Newhard we’ve mastered the art of satisfying everyone’s hunger at little to no cost! So while on set in Hawaii this past month, we made sure to photograph all of our culinary highlights, which I am now so pleased to present in blog form:

Spam Benedict - English muffin, fried spam, poached egg, weird pre-made “bistro sauce” from the food bank.

Bacon Macadamia Nut Milkshake

Pasta Newhard - Spaghetti, mushrooms, onions, garlic, tomato sauce, diced spam.

Bacon Tortellini Wrap

Nandan’s Street Plate - Rice, chickpeas, and a bunch of Indian vegetable stuff served in an old pie tin for an authentic street cart presentation.

??? – Instant mashed potatoes and Spaghetti-O’s.

Of course, people get tired of sitting on the couch eating weird/exotic dishes every day. It’s okay to splurge occasionally if it means keeping morale high. That’s why we took everyone to McDonald’s for a very special night out to see who could successfully eat the most expensive meal. Everyone surpassed $30, but Nick took home the title by housing $37 worth of food. Here he is celebrating his victory.
Congrats Nick! And congrats to you too, reader, for having gained a valuable filmmaking tool!

Fight Night

December 28th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. I’m headed back to the mainland in a few hours, and to be honest I’m not sad about it. Tempers have been flaring up between the cast and crew lately and I’m not sure I could have taken much more of this.


December 27th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Nandan here. Things are weird here. Since last update, Tor’s Norweigen brother and cousin have arrived, Nick’s Canadian mom and sister have arrived, and Christmas has come and gone with at least some tradition:

Zach and I are still here, still hogging moments of time to make movie. But I can honestly say that we are making something, and that we will indeed have a whole movie, scattered throughout many files on a hard drive, in hand when I leave this place in a week and a half. This is news for me.

Zach leaves in two days, so things are a little stressful – need to get done what needs doing before he airplanes out of here. Today we’re going to try and film a scene where Tor talks to Zach, acting as sound man recording their conversation, about how they are being portrayed talking about marriage in the scene we are shooting. I doubt that was coherent, which is a little like my thoughts right now.

I need to remember to call Nick and Tor’s Bishop, who vaguely agreed to let me interview him for the movie, but insists he hardly has any time, and explained that he doesn’t understand what we’re doing. I was supposed to call him yesterday between 5:30 and 6:00 to explain to him what we’re doing. I’ve never had a harder time trying to explain what we’re doing. I think that’s a bad sign, and it worries me a little, but somehow I can’t be bothered to think more about it. But I need to remember to call him tonight to tell him what we’re doing.


December 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Tor here. Finals are over. Everyone but me and Nick has returned to the mainland for the holidays, which means we now only have me, Nick and the backdrop left at our disposal. We got a car and the scooter is working again, which helps a ton with the work. My brother and cousin from Norway are arriving in a few days, as is Nick’s family from Canada, which means we should shoot as many scenes as we possibly can this weekend before they come. I’m sure they will want to see places and try surfing, so the more we can do now the better.
We’re doing pretty well I think. I feel like we got a lot of things accomplished today despite the loss of our dear leader Kim Jong Il. At least Nandan and Zach seem to find gold in almost all of the seemingly mundane everyday scenes that is my life.
When I answer “about me and Nick,” people seem to agree that it could have something to it, even though it sounds so simple. I think it’s because everyone deep down knows their journals are great movie material, at least portions of them, and I think the chapters of our imaginary journals we’re filming right now are as intriguing as our journal can get and in many ways similar to what other kids at the threshold of domestic life and adult life are experiencing. That may be because I fear nothing beyond that threshold will ever be worth documenting, but I really really hope I’m wrong.

feeling great feeling fine how are you

December 14th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Nandan here. I’m feeling pretty good right now. Not so good about the $130 the four of us spent at McDonalds last night in an eating contest, but good about the movie that’s being made. About this good:

I came here with a lot of wants. I wanted to feel free with this project, in the process I wanted to feel like I could do whatever I fancied, and I wanted that to come across in the final product. I was interested in the process above all – how is it to come into someone else’s life and make a film about them, with them conversing about and acting in their own depiction of a fictional version of themselves? I was interested in the individuals I was coming to see – buddies of mine I hadn’t seen in years. I was interested in the themes – youth, growing up, mormonism.

I dunno. I’m still afraid of every scene we have to shoot, afraid of the volatility of our schedule, afraid of the lack of control I will probably have over the exact time of day we shoot things outside. But overall I just have some crazy idea that I think I will like what comes out in the end. Not sure what makes me actually believe that.

Nick and Tor are finishing finals this week. All the other students are leaving this week and weekend. We have to shoot all our scenes with those kids between the time they finish finals, and the time they leave, which basically means Thursday night and Friday day. Do any of these individuals wish to spend their last moments before leaving making my movie? Probably not. But they’ve agreed to do it anyway.

We had a moment the other day where we found ourselves in a house, ready to shoot the group scene zach mentioned below, when the people that actually lived in the house asked me what I was doing. I suddenly realized I hadn’t even asked them permission to shoot in their living room. Just barged in, started setting up equipment, and assumed it wouldn’t be a problem. They were friends of friends…

That’s kind of how this whole shoot is going, I’m just barging into people’s lives, telling them what we’re doing, and barely asking them if they want to participate before committing them to being involved. It’s definitely presumptuous. But somehow people are kind enough to amuse me. Thank you?

Island Time

December 12th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Zach here. And by here I mean Hawaii, as previously established. It’s now been nearly three years since Nandan and I began chronicling the production of our first endeavor, and while we both know that we may never return to those previous heights of blog glory…we’re going to try.

These are Tor and Nick (in that order). They are two of Nandan’s many Mormon friends, and they’re in the final weeks of a one-semester stint at BYU Hawaii. With their imminent return to the mainland looming, questions of faith, family, and relationships are demanding to be addressed. Probably not answered, but definitely addressed. And it isn’t completely clear just yet, but it seems like this is what we’re here to capture.

Things are a little bit different this time in that Nandan dragged me out here with way less of a clue about what we’d be shooting than either of us has ever had. No script, no problem…that much we know. But no preconceived plot whatsoever? It was a scary thought. However, in spite of our now being on island time, and all of the painstaking research into what that lifestyle entails, progress has been made.

Our first few days here were chiefly observational. We’ve been spending a lot of time familiarizing ourselves with the two leads and what it is that they do here, whom they hang out with, and what rocks they like to jump off of. Their friends and routines are slowly becoming our own, because we’re sneaky like that. Add to all of this hours of daily discussion regarding themes, expectations, and boundaries (in addition to an extremely healthy dose of Nandan’s classic pacing sessions) and an outline has begun to form. We even produced and shot a beach bonfire/camp-out on our third night here.

Not bad, right? And today we shot our first “real” scene, a highly ambitious start considering the six speaking performers acting for the first time and all at once. But regardless of difficult circumstances, the results were great. It was such a relief to have everyone finally get an idea of what we’d be doing here…and not only that, but to get excited about it. If the energy continues, the cast might just wind up making this movie themselves. Again, we’re sneaky.


December 9th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

We are in Hawaii.