In the meantime all of you have probably seen our festival trailer. If not, here it is again – I’ll wait here while you watch it.
Done? Very good.
Responsible for the trailer are Brian Lonano and his team. We’ve asked Brian to answer a few questions for us, so that you can get a glimpse behind the scenes of the trailer shoot.
To those of you who have been to the /slash Filmfestival last year, you’ve probably seen quite a few of Brian’s short films. Those movies have quite a broad range, but usually come with a DIY-aesthetic and some fantastic element to it.
When asked how he got into filmmaking in the first place, Brian answered:
“I’ve wanted to make movies since I was 10 years old but we never had enough money for a camera, so I found other ways to be creative while keeping filmmaking in the back of my mind. I drew, I made lots of paper bag puppets, made flipbooks and other things. I knew I always wanted to make films that had some element of the fantastic in it. Monsters, aliens, robots, dinosaurs, etc. When I finally got a camera, I started making stop animation films with my Star Wars figures. Finally when I went to film school, I had like minded friends who wanted to make goofy films with effects like costumes, props, forced perspective, stop motion and so on.”
If that sounds like it’s right up /slash’s alley, you’re right of course – that’s why we approached him to make this year’s festival trailer. Especially since Brian has some experience with shorts and trailers:
“I’ve made mostly short films but have created some work for television as well as film festival trailers. (…) I like the idea of short films because you can work on it for maybe a year and then move onto something new. I like having lots of ideas that can go into different films. The dream would be to be a go to man for film festival trailers, openings for films and tv shows and other work like that. I’d love to be the low budget Saul Bass (who made a career out of making opening title sequences for major films).”
As mentioned before, Brian doesn’t work alone, though:
“My primary partner with concept, design and production is my brother Kevin Lonano who is also an independent filmmaker as well as frequent collaborator. On the post production end, Jeff Jenkins is responsible to enhancing the effects, compositing the backgrounds and providing any other digital effects for the film. Other collaborators on this project were Andrea Kiefer who was the colorist and Kahlin Whatley who created the sound mix and performed the voice of the man monster. The female monster was voiced by Lisa Hammer, who is best known for providing the voice of Triana Orpheus on Adult Swim’s The Venture Brothers.”
If you are like us, you probably fell in love with those monster puppets straight away. Unfortunately, they are not something that can be bought at Toys’R'Us:
“The monster puppets were made similarly to how Frankenstein’s monster was made: with parts taken from older or destroyed stuffed animals and puppets.
Building the puppets took a long afternoon while eating pizza and watching cartoons.”
What could be more fitting than Frankenstein’s puppets for our trailer? Even if it means that you’ll have to build it yourself if you want one of your own.
But building the puppets was the least of the work:
“The trailer was primarily done with rod puppets shot against a green screen. Backgrounds were a combination of footage shot on super 8 film and digital effects. (…) Shooting it was another long afternoon. Post production is the longest stage because that is where the movie is really built. As of late, a lot of my films and trailers are really constructed in post production because of all the special effects. Therefore post production could take weeks depending on how long the film is.”
With the amount of work put into the film, no wonder it turned out so great. To make a good film, though, you need a good idea – and for a trailer, you need one that fits the festival:
“The idea was originally going to be live action but that had to be scrapped because I was recently going to move from New York to Atlanta. I am a big fan of puppets and have used them in the past for films. I think they create a unique and sometimes very amusing aesthetic for a film. I wanted an edgy cute sort of feeling for the trailer. It starts out sweet but the monsters are a little grotesque and the parts with the flower and the chocolates are cute but I definitely wanted something gross to come out of no where because it’s a genre festival. So I thought to keep with the sweet but tack on the gross, it would be best for the man monster to rip his own heart out and give it to the monster woman he loves.”
That romantic gore – which is perfect for the /slash – is of course hugely supported by the wonderful music. Says Brian:
“I am a big fan of classical music and try to use it in every film I do. The music in this I wanted to be very romantic and sweeping so my brother and I wanted Tchaikovsky. I originally chose the suite from Romeo and Juliet but was convinced by Kevin to go with Pas de deux from The Nutcracker.”
Well, he certainly sweeped us off our feet with everything. But where will he go from here? His next project “might involve dinosaurs”, he teases. But
“I don’t have anything concrete yet as far as plot goes. It’s more of an experiment I want to film.”
We, for one, are already excited about it.