B-MOVIE BONANZA: TRUE “INDEPENDENT” STEPHEN KESSLER (part 4)

Did the film change much in the editing phase? ^ The film was made in the editing. We edited for nine months, and our editor, Chris Franklin, made the film, in the sense that he figured out what was missing from Morty’s character, or from what the audience needed to feel about Morty at some point, and then he’d find an interview and make something work. Although the script called for interviews, very few of the interviews in the final cut were in the original script. And for the most part, we just put them where they felt right. Again, with Peter and Ron discussing Bald Justice, we had already shot Bald Justice, and we had this idea if I could just film Peter saying he hated it, and Ron saying he liked it, it would be great. And then Ron decided to take his hat of at the end, and that made the joke fly. Also, the script had no sequences, and when the film got slow, Chris would just take a bunch of scenes and cut them up and we’d look at it and say, wow, that works better. Finally, the film parodies were sometimes shifted from where they were in the script to pace the movie better.
What are some of the scenes you had to cut? You must have had some great stuff. ^ Cut scenes. There was a women in prison movie called “Ebony, Fawn, and Jade”. There was an extended sequence when Fineman Films when to a film market. There was a scene where, after Morty signed his deal with the killer, he gets invited to a Hollywood party, where Laura Kightlinger did a hilarious improv with Jerry. But after showing the film to several audiences, we just got the feeling that we were trying to do too much, so we cut some stuff out.
How have audiences reacted to The Independent during your whirlwind film festival tour? ^ The response from festival audiences has been so gratifying, and important in the sense that it gave us a sense of confidence about the film, when some distributor would see it and say, well, I know it’s funny, but who’s going to go see it? I cannot say enough for the inflated sense of self a filmmaker gets from going to film festivals. My favorites — SXSW, because we played to such a large audience, and the building just rocked, and Stockholm, because it was funny to see an audience where English was a second language laugh at our stupid jokes. Also, the variety of gummi type candies was remarkable.
Okay, what do you do when you’re not making films? ^ I sit with my fiancee and our kid and yell at the TV. And the weirdest thing of all about The Independent is that when I watch it, I see it as being an essentially serious piece.
Do you have another indie film project that you’d like to get off the ground? ^ I have a couple, but I would definitely get a distributor first. I think it would have saved us a lot of angst, misery, and sleeplessness. But hey, why else do you go into the movie business?
Get a revealing glimpse into more of The Independent with the following picture gallery from the phony films featured. B-MOVIE BONANZA: FINEMAN FILMS PICTURE GALLERY>>>
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Posted on December 9, 2001 in Interviews by
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