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Todd Frugia, James Strzelinski
2013, 60m, comedy, experimental, romance
One Body is an existential comedy that follows two members of a religious order that disbands after a doomsday prediction fails to be realized.
Life on Earth continues as usual, and the former disciples are forced face-to-face against their own expectations as they re-integrate into a society whose myriad of opportunities, activities, and comforts sum up to nothing.
Produced by: Todd Frugia, Marrakesh, James Strzelinski
10 questions with One Body director, Todd Frugia, James Strzelinski at the half-way mark.
Thursday, March 17th, 2016
1The is such a funny idea for a film. What was the initial seed that made you want to make this film? I've always had in interest in stories about subcultures and cults. People on the fringe of the mainstream. Todd's performance art pieces often produced a group of actors chanting strange vocalizations and sheathed in coverall-type costumes. Natural tendencies were the starting point. As we started to design the film and build the story we started to think of it as an allegory for re-entering the world after completing grad school.
2You two are co-directors, how did you two meet and why did you decide to work together? We met awhile ago in Chicago via a mutual connection. Over the years we worked on a lot of corporate video productions, where we became war buddies. We were making art and films separately during that time, and eventually it just evolved into our current collaboration.
3How did you divvy up the responsibilities? By not thinking about it too much. Since cast and crew were intimate we just dove in and started developing the story as we rehearsed. Production was so compact that we could coordinate shoot days with a few texts. We just let the creative process happen and the production sort of took care of itself.
4Most of these scenes are oners (one scene, one shot). Why did you decide to go that route and what are the pros/cons of shooting oners? We just like the aesthetic. We find it painful and awkward. I guess that could be a pro or con.
5What was the most challenging scene to shoot and how did you tackle it? The apartment scene that opens with Paul drinking from the fridge and culminates in the fight on the couch. I had to physically get from the refrigerator to the couch, in the path of the lens but without being seen, while the camera move was occurring. It involved scrambling behind the counter and bookshelves and then landing in position ready for the rest of the scene.
6What are the films that made you want to become filmmakers? There are different films that inspire different projects. With this film I think we were channeling some Godard, Jarmusch, a light Haneke. It was just about the DIY spirit and the minimalism.
7You have written a lot about making "Non-Dependent" feature films for $1000. Were you really able to make this film for $1000? Actually we made it for less, around $800 and change. But of course any budget number at this level of filmmaking comes with explanation required. Obviously we did not pay salaries, and were able to use equipment we owned and locations we had access to. Generosity of friends, collaborators, and supporters involved with the project is a huge key. Favors are massive. The question with any DIY film at this level is always - Could someone else make this movie for what we made it for? Who knows if there is an answer. It's tough for one filmmaker to replicate another's process and project at this level. Our advice is always just start by conceptualizing with what you know you have.
8Because of your budget restrictions, how big was your crew? For about half of the shoot days it was only Me, Todd, Veronica (actress), and Chuck (DP) on set. The other half varied, but our crew maxed out at four people one day.
9What are your thoughts on the current state of indie film? Do you think this is an exciting or terrible time for indie film? If your ambition is simply to make a film for the art and experience of making a film, then it's the most exciting time in the history of independent cinema. The technology is literally at our fingertips.
If you want to have a career where you support yourself financially by making independent films then it's about the same situation as its been, odds of success are very low and it might be even more difficult than it was because it's getting more and more competitive. Even though the technology is allowing more people to make films, what is required to make a film legitimate in the eyes of an established producer or distributor is getting more stringent and exclusive.
10What's next for you two? Good question.
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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