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The Strange and Unusual
2014, 100m, comedy
After 4 less than mediocre seasons on TV, a supernatural reality show called "The Strange and Unusual" is being canceled. With only one episode left to shoot, Joel, the show's producer is determined to give the network a series finale they won't forget.
Produced by: Brian Oxendine, Anil Dhokai
Cast: Tim Ross, Karen Boles, Dervin Gilbert, Brian Oxendine, Aubrey O'neal, Alonzo Ward, Christy Johson, Erika Chase, Sean Beck, David Schifter
10 questions with The Strange and Unusual director, Anil Dhokai at the half-way mark.
Saturday, August 13th, 2016
1“The Strange and Unusual” tells a behind-the-scenes story of a crew shooting a supernatural reality TV show. Do you have experience working in reality TV? Yes. I use to freelance and have worked on a number of reality shows. My experience on them definitely was an inspiration for a large part of this movie.
2Are there other behind-the-scenes movies you admire? Definitely, I really enjoy behind the scenes documentaries.. Two of my favorites are "Lost in La Mancha" and "American Movie".
3What was the spark that led you to make this movie? Mainly my experience working as part of the crew on other projects. Some of the characters and situations I actually pulled from real life. There is often just as much drama going on behind the camera as there is in front of it.
4Your movie is pretty critical of reality TV. How much of that is your opinion and how much is for dramatic effect? It's definitely a little of both. A lot of reality tv is fake and very staged. When writing the script, I saw this as an opportunity to give my own commentary on how I felt about it.
5You're a cinematographer as well as a director. How do you work with DPs as a director? Do you get intimately involved with the details, or do you take off your cinematography hat and let your DP bring his or her sensibility to the project? I tend to still keep my cinematagraher hat on. I'm always thinking about the shots and coverage. Usually I base everything around what I want the camera to be doing., then I block within that frame. With this project, I came away from that a little more though. Some scenes I would just let unfold as if it were a documentary, then we would just pick off coverage based around what was happening. I've been making movies with Micah Troublefiield (the DP) since high school, so we both collaborate really well together.
6This is a real ensemble movie. How did you assemble the cast ? We had 3 months of auditions plus a great casting director (Juli Emmons). We also, went with people we had worked with before on other projects. Tim Ross who plays Joel, was also the lead in a short I had made the year before.
7It looks like you pretty much took over a whole small town to make the movie. How did you find your locations and were the locals cooperative? Chester SC is an awesome place to film. Everyone is very welcoming and supportive. I had worked in the locations department on a movie that had shot there, so I was already familiar with the town. Plus Brian Oxendine (producer) had several contacts there who helped us shut down roads, etc.
8How long did it take you to make this movie from conception to the final edit? I would say roughly 4 years. I started writing the script in 2010. The Summer of 2012 we secured financing. Pre-production lasted 4 months starting that September. We shot for roughly 25 days in January 2013 and spent over a year in post. Finally we release the film in August 2014.
9Did you have a festival run before Fandependent? How have you been getting your movie out into the world? We wound up going the direct distribution route releasing it on Amazon and Vimeo on demand. We had several public screenings including the Underexposed Film Series.
10What's next? Shorts, shorts, and more shorts...
I really enjoy being able to make a project in a small amount of time and then basically go on tour with it to different festivals. Chris Gervais and Micah Troublefield are the 2 other guys I make movies with. We take turns directing our own projects. Eventually I may make another feature, but not for awhile.
About the Interviewer: Jay Stern
Jay Stern is a film and theater director and producer based in New York City. HIs two features "The Adventures of Paul and Marian" and "Spirit Cabinet" were shot back to back and recently appeared on Fandependent Films. Jay is a founder of the Iron Mule Short Comedy Film Festival, which has screened monthly in NYC since April, 2002.
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