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The Aviation Cocktail
2012, 96m, crime, drama, thriller
In the late 1950s, a hostage situation in rural Nebraska results in the tragic death of a young girl. While transporting the injured killer back to town, local sheriff Henry Fisher (Beau Kiger), his brother Jack (Michael Haskins) and sometimes friend Bob Halloran (Brandon Eaton) decide to indulge in vigilante justice, killing the murderer before he can be brought to trial. Although it seems like an easy decision at the time, it will come to haunt the three men and maybe even destroy them.
Produced by: Robert Deline
Cast: Michael Haskins, Brandon Eaton, Beau Kiger, Leah Lockhart, Connor Boyle, Katie Bevard, Mark Hanson
9 questions with The Aviation Cocktail director, David Higgins at the half-way mark.
Sunday, February 14th, 2016
1What was the initial seed that made you want to make Aviation Cocktail? I had heard some stories about my grandfather and his aviation history, then embellished on them, adding a little Coen brothers flair, and there you have it. I was really motivated to write because of some personal stuff.
2Aviation Cocktail is a time piece, it's got a gun fights, it's got aerial photography, why did you choose such an ambitious project for your first film? There were great locations around Valentine and our production designer Eileen Dennehy made them look even better! We had a wonderful location scout in named Janette Duffield who was extremely helpful and generous with her time and knowledge. We were also lucky enough to hire Carole Zacek as our costume designer. Aside from the police car that was provided by the Denver Police, the cars belonged to locals in Valentine. I can’t stress this enough, the film wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else. It’s an extremely film friendly city! The 1949 Stinson Voyager belonged to our good friend Dennis Lacy who aside from being a great pilot is a fantastic guy.
3What was the size of your crew and how did you meet them? Keeping with our Colorado roots, we wanted to hire locals and showcase their skills. There are lots of talented people in Nebraska as well. I obviously met everyone in a chat room.
4The aerial photography is beautiful. What are the challenges of shooting from an airplane? Hold that camera steady.
5How difficult is it to film a shootout? How many days did that take you? Just like-minded people working together for a common goal. I mean, making a movie is hard work and requires everyone to pull together as a community. Everyone is giving 100% for long hours and at times stress levels can boil over. Everyone was extremely professional and it’s good to know when to take a break. We did it in a couple days because I'm a sadist.
6What scene in this film turned out better than you ever imagined it would? I have to be serious of a minute: there's a scene between brothers, Henry and Jack. Henry pulls Jack over and obviously knows something that Jack is trying to hide. It's just a couple close ups; sometimes that's the best coverage.
7What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? McCabe & Mrs. Miller but this was after Rodriguez tricked me into going to film school with his book Rebel Without a Crew.
8You have such a large cast in this film. How did you find everyone and what was your casting process like? When do you know the person is the right fit? I like working with people that like having fun. If we can have a real conversation over a beer: YOU ARE THE RIGHT FIT. Are these questions almost over?
9What's next? I have been developing a feature Western and hope to shoot it in the Nebraska sandhills. It’s the untold true story about an American outlaw and if I don’t get to it soon I may lose my mind
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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