Brett Ingram’s Monster Road takes a look at the life and work of eccentric animator Bruce Bickford, who provided clay animation for Frank Zappa. Locked away in the small basement studio of his childhood home, Brett’s camera may just be the only way Bruce gets outside the house.
What drew you to Bruce Bickford as a documentary subject?
Initially I was blown away by Bickford’s animation. Then, as I got to know the man himself, I found him to be extremely intelligent, staunchly iconoclastic, and funny as hell – all qualities I admire in people.
Bruce sounds like a pretty private guy. Did he ever mind you filming him?
Mostly, I think, he just minded us interrupting his work flow. He’s pretty dedicated to his work and any distraction from it tends to irritate him.
What does he think of your finished film?
He thinks it could use a bit more action. I tried to explain to him how tough it is to get action when you’re making a film about two guys who rarely even leave the house.
Has your work on the Space Shuttle Program had an impact on your filmmaking?
Engineering, at its core, is about problem solving. Those skills come in quite handy while making a film. The equations are just different.
What were some major problems you came across while making the film?
Since Bickford lives in Seattle, my living in North Carolina and having no budget to work with was the biggest problem.
Have you had any problems getting “Monster Road” seen?
We’re getting it seen at dozens of festivals, domestically and internationally. But, we are still looking for a formal distribution deal. We’re anxious to get started on the next film, but right now, managing the distribution of “Monster Road” is taking a lot of energy.
What’s up next for you?
I’m kicking around some ideas and trying to get some funding in place, but there are no firm plans yet.