RAMZI ABED DIGS HIMSELF IN DEEPER (part 4)

How was the film received at its festival debut in Park City at Tromadance? ^ Well, it actually premiered at the 2001 Deep Ellum Film Festival last November, but Tromadance was a bigger thing in a way. ^ The screening went really well. There were close to 200 people in the theater, and after the film ended, the crowd was in a dead silent daze. I think it’s a shock to the system, and I’m used to it from showings of my past works like “Nobody” or The Interview. ^ The Tunnel showed on the very same screen that Mulholland Drive was playing on at Bewvies though. Oh, and I’ve got a copy of Lynch’s instructions for the audio and headroom on Mulholland Drive. I snagged it from the projection booth… Coincidentally, I had just gone in to tell the projectionist to turn the audio up on my film 3db higher than normal… ^ I look on the instructions, and David had asked for the same thing… I’m happy I now have that synchronistic souvenir.
How do people react to the film after seeing it? ^ People either love it or loathe it. No in between really. At the Utah screenings, there were a bunch of folks who came up to us afterwards to share their feelings. A lot of the people seemed spellbound, and that was a thrill for us. Like I said though, it’s not for everybody, but it does feel good when some people get it. I got a few hugs, and people bought us beers. We now have a small cult following.
How would you describe your quest to get the film into other festivals? ^ It’s like driving an old car. You have to manually apply yourself. A lot of promoting helps, but also, don’t go too crazy. You might burn some bridges. At the same time, follow your spirit. I just pour all of my money into the submissions, and keep on hoping. At the same time, with something as commercially inaccessible as this, you can’t hope for too much. I just keep at it.
Any lessons you’d like to pass along? ^ I know nothing, in general, but I do know that if you do something you love, then you’re happy. Make things that you want to see, and think about your viewer, but don’t concentrate on tailoring yourself or your film to people’s tastes. In the end, it’s whatever you want that you should do. Art is self-expression, so give it your all. Oh, and be nice to people, even when you’re mad, never be rude. A sense of humor works too.
Can you offer some dos and don’ts of indie filmmaking based on your experiences? ^ There are no real rules. Everything is permitted. Don’t try to be anyone else but youself, and enjoy the process of filmmaking as much as possible. One things for sure. There’s not one way to do anything. If you’re going to be unique, don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there. The only things people agree on are usually not that new. If you’re gonna break any ground, be patient. It takes time.
What’s your next move? ^ I’m finishing up production on a digital feature called “Upside Downtown”, which I also directed. It’s a film about a nameless city, psychic activity, karma, and lots of uncontrollable events. We finished one segment called “Push”, which Amanda Staggs wrote and co-directed, and stars up and coming actress, Tamarah Murley. ^ I’m also co-producing a short film called “Under the World”, which stars Hunter Carson, who’s also co-producing. This friend of mine, Jordan Bolinger, is directing it, and it’s based on the “Orpheus” story. Aside from that, I’m writing, drawing, working at my job, and shooting stuff on my DV, Pixelvision, and Super 8 cameras. You never know when something might bob up from another world, and catch your eye.
For more info on Ramzi and his films, visit the official Bloodshot Pictures home page.
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Posted on February 11, 2001 in Interviews by
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