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2015, 124m, comedy, crime
Angel's Bounty is a dark, comedic tale that follows cynical and burnt-out Los Angeles bounty hunter, Angel Sommers. Angel spends her days surrounded by liars, gamblers, misogynists and other social deviants. And those are just her co-workers. When a contract comes in that's big enough to fund her dreams of leaving the bounty hunting game and opening her own business, she jumps at the opportunity. The only problem is, the contract is for Tommy Briggs...the man responsible for her father's murder over a decade ago.
Produced by: Kevin Coleman, Lucien Flynn, Sonia Alexandria
Cast: Kristen Springer, JP Giuliotti, Alastair Bayardo, Travis Gray, Colin Dillon, Justin Hayes, Shawn Lawrence
10 questions with Angel's Bounty director, Lee Fleming at the half-way mark.
Saturday, May 28th, 2016
1Hi Lee! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Spring Festival. First, what was the initial seed that made you want to make this film? I wanted to do a story with a strong female lead. But, not an over the top, big breasted, latex and leather female lead. I wanted to show that a female protagonist can be a badass without leading with her sexuality. I knew that Angel's Bounty would be a great vehicle for that. Not only does she have to be physically tough to do her job, but she needs to be mentally tough to manage her personal feelings and remain professional while she brings back the man she believes murdered her father.
2You wrote this film too. How long did the script take you and what was your writing process like? It took probably about 3 months from the initial idea to the first draft. Than, another month or so of rewrites. I like to start with a pretty thorough outline first...just makes it easier to make sure everything flows and there's no plot holes or big continuity issues. After that, it's just a matter of plugging in the actual dialogue and putting it in script format.
3This is your first feature film. How did you know you were ready and what prepared you? Honestly, we didn't know if we were ready...and I'm still not sure if we were. But, I figured the best way to find out was just to do it and see what happens. We knew that no matter what, this was our first film and there were gonna be mistakes. So, let's just do it and see what those mistakes are gonna be. We look at Angel's Bounty as our film school. And we look at our company, Passionate Apathy Entertainment, as a long term investment. So, we were willing to take our chances and use what we learn to help be better prepared for our next project.
4Your lead actress, Kristen Springer, does a great job. How did you two meet and how did you know she was right for the lead? Yeah, Kristen's awesome. We met in the summer of 2009 at a networking event in Seattle. One thing lead to another and we moved to LA together the following summer. We've worked on several projects together since we've been here, and I had no doubt she'd nail the part and bring Angel to life. It also helped me write the character, already knowing who was going to play the role.
5What was the biggest challenge you faced making this film? How did you get through it? We're still trying to get through it now. Distribution by far. We have no name attached. No fan base to speak of. And it doesn't fit neatly into any genre. Makes it hard to find an audience for...and that's not exactly what distributors and aggregators are looking for. That's one reason I'm a fan of what you guys are doing and thankful for letting us be a part of it. Traditional film festivals are great. But, even in a big festival, only a limited number of people are gonna see it. But, with the online format, anybody with an internet connection has a chance to watch it.
6What's the scene you're most proud of and why? Probably the scene where the hitmen are asking the hillbillies for directions back to California. It was a last minute replacement for a scene that the location fell through. So, we just loaded up the truck, found a spot that would work, and the guys improved the whole scene. They did great and were funny as shit. What I really liked about it though, was that it brought me back to why I started doing this in the first place. It was a group of friends hanging out, maybe we had a couple beers (we definitely did), and then turned the camera on and had fun with it. It's definitely not the most polished scene in the movie. But, even so, I like to think that the fun we had on set translates onto the screen.
7What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? I don't know if I can narrow it down to any particular film that made me think, "I wanna do this really expensive and time consuming thing that, statistically, I will never see a return on." But, I'd always loved movies and storytelling. My friends and I would always mess around with recording shorts and sketches whenever we had a chance. But, I never thought making a “real” movie was an option. I didn't have money. I didn't have connections. Hell, I didn't even own a camcorder at the time. But, I started reading about guys like Robert Rodriguez, Ed Burns and Kevin Smith who just took what they had available to them, believed in themselves, and went out and did the damn thing. That's what motivated me. I love their films...but it was their persistence and their willingness to try that really inspired me.
8How were you able to raise the funding for the film and how long did it take? Initially we tried crowdfunding, but we just didn't have the reach to get enough eyeballs on it to succeed. We did raise a grand or so from friends and family. But, most of our funds came from an investor named Mr. VISA. Very generous, doesn't ask a lot of questions, and only charges us 12.99% APR.
9Bounty hunting is such a strange world. I met someone who did that and her stories were out of control. What's the most interesting thing you learned about Bounty Hunters? I was a prison guard for a little over ten years and I had a few friends there that left to become bounty hunters, police officers, or private detectives. One thing that's really interesting about working in that type of field is that they develop the ability to laugh at some seriously fucked up shit (can I say that?). But, they have to in order to survive. They spend their days around people that society doesn't want to deal with and in environments that most people have only seen on TV. The first time you have to tackle a full grown man who's buck naked and covered in his own feces, it can be a little off-putting. But, if by the third time, you don't find a way to see some humor in it, you're not gonna make it to the fourth time. Their day at the office can turn out a lot worse than Becky jamming the photocopier yet again and having to use the copier on the second floor until the repair man gets there.
10What's next? “Rabbit Punch.” It's a slasher comedy about a work retreat with bad timing who stumbles across a killer Easter Bunny. Kinda like Workaholics meets Friday the 13th. Comedy and horror are two of my favorite genres, and I think they work great together when it's done well (which, hopefully we'll do). I'm working on the script now, and we're hoping to start shooting by the end of the year. Also, I'm co-writing an animated feature based on characters from a comedy podcast that I'm a correspondent on (Saturday Morning Funnies). It's about a comedy tour that inadvertently turns into a crime spree. We're hoping to have that done by next summer. Finally, (insert deity of your choice) willing, I'm writing a few new jokes and would like to get back on stage again. Oh, and at some point, I'll be giving my dog a bath.
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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