Last week we published a post featuring ‘The Movie Screening Security Guards’ as they terrorized the movie-going public with their outrageous anti-piracy antics. After being delighted with the response, director Joe Russo got in touch asking for a little help from the TorrentFreak readers.
‘The Movie Screening Security Guards’ pokes fun at the extreme lengths to which the movie industry will go in order to protect their movies. If you missed it first time round, click here – it’s pretty funny and was well received by our readers.
After our original article we caught up with the director, Joe Russo, a film student at Arizona State University. Joe was selected to intern on the movie ‘The Kingdom’ and has worked with Fox Sports Network and Applebox pictures. He is also an accredited film critic and is Editor-in-Chief at MoviePulse.net – and he’d like the support of TorrentFreak readers.
TF: How did you come up with the Movie Screening Security Guards concept?
Joe Russo: The history of this project is actually a funny story. I had just finished production on a short film, which I have been editing simultaneously, called Santa’s Last Stop. It’s my thesis project, and I hadn’t really planned on doing another short film until it was complete. My Director of Photography, Andy Hendrix, really wanted to do another short film for our Business Ethics class. The only criterion for the project was that it had to be “related to an ethical problem in the film industry”.
Well we started mulling over ideas and then it hit me. I was at a press screening for a film called Definitely Maybe. We were in an older theater up in North Scottsdale and for some strange reason the exit was lit and the security guards were clearly visible. I noticed that they were fooling around a bit with their night vision goggles so I turned to see what had their attention , the group of blondes seated behind me. I said to myself, man this would be a funny bit for a short film. So I brought the idea up to my classmates, they dug it and we went for it.
TF: Why did you choose a ‘Mockumentary’ format?
Joe Russo: First things first, I hate documentaries. This was an opportunity to not only spoof what I consider to be a silly form of piracy prevention, but the documentary genre itself. I know that our lead actor Dean Veglia really got a kick out of viewers questioning if Movie Screening Security Guards was real. He felt that meant we had done our jobs right.
TF: How did you generate ideas for the film?
Joe Russo: Essentially we came up with little scenarios, based loosely off things I had witnessed at press screenings, and our incredibly talented writer, Jen Winterbotham, fleshed out the characters and story. Usually screenplays for Mockumentaries are structured like a narrative, but I really wanted to shoot the film like a documentary. We tried to keep things very loose, and the script was written as a series of vignettes. We then edited them together, trying to find the funniest combination in post-production, to create the final product.
TF: What was the hardest part about getting the film made?
Joe Russo: Everything on Movie Screening Security Guards came together quite smoothly; the hardest part was actually locking down a location. It wasn’t until the week of the show that we were able to get a confirmation from Harkins Cinemas, a fairly large chain in the South West, that we would be able to use one of their locations. I had to go all the way up the food chain to get permission too, somehow finding myself in communication with the owner of the company who loved the idea.
Two days before the shoot we were informed that we were good to go, once they had our million dollar liability insurance policy. If we were working with a production company, typically that wouldn’t be a problem, but because we were an independent student film and completed the movie for under two hundred bucks, there was no way for us to raise enough money in time.
As I was typing the email to cancel the shoot, I got a message from the head of Chandler Cinemas. If you live in Arizona I highly recommend you check them out. They put on really cool 35mm screenings of grindhouse flicks, seventies exploitation pics and weekly midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Anyway, we were able to shoot there for less money and in turn got more space and time, but man did it come down to the wire.
TF: So how can the TorrentFreak readers help?
Joe Russo: We loved the article and the big response from your post about the film and we were hoping maybe you could help us out once more. “Movie Screening Security Guards” was just accepted into an online short film competition where we have the chance to not only make another short film for ten thousand dollars, but could win up to a hundred thousand dollars and a meeting with studio executives! If you could help us out by pointing your readers to the film at the below link we would really appreciate it! All they need to do is click, register, watch and vote!
TF: Well, you gave us all a few laughs, so sure, why not! Click here to vote for The Movie Screening Security Guards.