DIY FILMMAKERS: WORLD FAMOUS IKE'S "REJECTED BY VULTURES" Image

[ WHAT’S YOUR BIO? ] ^ I had been a musician with various bands over the years and to keep alive I did electrical work. I was always into film and had written a few scripts when I got really inspired by Rodriguez’ “El Mariachi”. I decided I needed to write a script that I could do as a first film with a relatively low budget ($60K) intending to use my own money just so that I could direct (since I had no track record to speak of). As it turned out, once I started handing out the script to people I knew in “the business” I started getting really good reactions and I decided to look for some independent financing to add to my meager sum. I really set this film up sitting in Port-A-Potties on various construction sites. I would get calls on my cell phone and I’d have to act like I was in an office, so I’d run to the quietest spot on the job site, the Port-A-Potty and do the HEAVY negotiating (if you know what I mean). We ended up getting a lot more money than I was expecting and were able to shoot on 35 mm, on location for a little over three weeks with a full crew and everyone got paid. ^
[ WHAT’S YOUR STORY? ] ^ The tag line is “A couple estranged, a couple of idiots, a couple of psychos éand a couple of days! ^ It’s an ensemble piece about three distinct couples who end up in Death Valley for various reasons. Fred “kidnaps” his estranged wife Carrie and takes her to see their daughter, but their car breaks down on a shortcut through the desert forcing them to deal with each other. ^ Gary, a homophobic construction worker, gets caught sleeping with his boss’ wife and gets himself and his partner Sallee chased at gunpoint into the desert where their car breaks down. Sallee is a sexually ambivalent, slightly overweight vegan whose somewhat sensitive side gets rubbed when he tells one too many homosexual jokes and fears that he might be gay. This is not what Gary needs to hear. ^ Gipper is a psychotic French photographer who kidnaps Barbie, a beautiful model, and takes her to the desert. His plan is to shoot four rolls of film of her and then kill her and kill himself and leave the film as his final masterpiece. He takes Divine’s question “who is ready to die for art?” literally and is willing to prove that he is ready. The stories come together in the end for a surprise ending that usually catches people off guard, but they dig it. (It’s a big hit with the college kids.) ^
[ WHAT DREW YOU TO THE SUBJECT? ] ^ The married couple: Haven’t you ever had an argument that was really stupid with someone you loved and you just wished you could just be in the desert where you were forced to get over the little petty things and had to work it out? I know I have. ^ The construction workers: I was one and if you’ve ever been on a construction site, the number one joke is anything homophobic and I knew a guy who was exactly like Gary and the story of getting caught with the Boss’ wife is a true story. Chased at gunpoint and all. I also wanted to deal with the construction worker’s worst fear: He might be GAY! I had a lot of fun with that. ^ The psychotic photographer and the model: I initially got the idea when I heard about the Linda Sobeck incident and I got creeped out by the kind of thoughts that must’ve gone through that assholes’ head. Then I decided to make the guy french because all the french guys are always sexy and groovy and I wanted to have him be reviled. But he’s so completely wacked out that he’s actually funny (if you’re twisted). ^
[ WHAT WAS LEFT ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR? ] ^ Thousands and thousands of dollars that I didn’t have to spend since I didn’t use it!!! Some scenes that I like a lot, but when you get to editing it (I edited it) you realize that you can lose things that you like but aren’t really necessary. ^
[ BUDGET, SCHEDULE, STATUS? ] ^ Under one million dollars, we shot a little over a year ago and finished a couple of months ago. We had great screenings at Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival and Slamdunk. One of the greatest compliments I have gotten is at both Palm Springs and Park City — we had people in the audience who said they had lived in their respective cities for over ten years and had never gone to see a film at any of the festivals, but when they saw our poster, they had to see ours. They loved the film and they were just regular people. I consider myself more of a festival kind of guy, so I thought my film would appeal more to indie film lovers, but these people hung in there with my warped sensibilities and really loved it. ^
[ ANY SACRIFICES FOR THE BUDGET? ] ^ Not really. Since I had originally intended to do it ultra low budget, the many fold increase in budget was welcomed. I mean I didn’t have any CG effects or anything. Oh yeah, since I’m vegan, I didn’t get to have a private chef who made vegan food for me. The whole crew got to eat the caterer’s food, and I had to bring my own. Now that I think about it, I was deprived. Next time I’m getting a hippie chef from my local co-op. ^
[ WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE MAKING THE FILM? ] ^ I had a great time. Other than the three Neapolitan Mastiffs who mauled me while I was location scouting sending me to the emergency room, I loved it. We had an incredible crew who had a great time. We worked very long days, but on the days off, everyone went out dancing at the local clubs and had a great time in general. I’m already in the early stages of Pre-Production on my next one. I’m looking forward to pummeling myself again. ^
[ ANY CRAZY SET ADVENTURES? ] ^ The Mastiffs chewing on me, one of the producers lost a testicle during the shoot, we couldn’t get a permit to shoot on the Kern River because of supposed danger and so on the first day of shooting, we guerrilla’d it and had three naked guys running around and swimming during the homage to “Planet of the Apes” and we made it through without getting caught. We also had a scene where these two guys are naked in the middle of the desert and while the actors were buck naked, a big caravan of people on horseback came riding through the middle of nowhere in Death Valley right where we were. The actors were not too happy, but we got the shot! ^
[ WHY DID YOU DO IT? ] ^ Why not? I really like some of the things being done by guys like Jim Jarmusch, the Coen Bro’s, the View Askew boys, QT and even Tim Burton. I think there is a place for quirky films. They might not be your 200 million dollar pre-stamped films, but there is a market for different or slightly twisted films. I am actually surprised by some of the people who like my film. It’s really gratifying when someone gets your film. I don’t know if that says something good about me or bad about them, but it’s nice to hear people respond who are on the same wavelength. ^
[ ADVICE? ] ^ By the time it’s all said and done, it’s about two years of your life. It better be something you can come back to again and again and still find something interesting. If you really love film like I do, there isn’t really anything to say, just do it if you really believe in your script. ^
[ WHAT NEXT? ] ^ I am currently setting up my next film putting together all the pieces. The next one is a different kind of action picture that is more realistic than most being done today. We are talking to people who are interested in financing it, so we’ll see. It’ll require a $3-5million budget. I also have another script that is a totally “racist” comedy that is way cool and I hope we can do with some indie production company or investors who have some balls. I want to kick political correctness back where it came from. I don’t think there’s anything funnier that hearing how white people have no asses. That’s so true, but you can’t say things like that in mixed company. I am aspiring to make the first film to be brought up on hate crimes legislation. ^
To find out more about Ike and “Rejected by Vultures” visit: www.flash.net/~punkab

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