The story of getting a film made ........again!

Monster lessons!

Monsters PosterI am always captivated by the success of micro budget films, particularly when they’re feature débuts and the latest in that pantheon is Gareth Edward‘s Monsters. It comes in at an unbelievable $15,000, however when you watch the Blu-Ray extras, you realise that Edwards wrote, directed, DOP’d and created all 250 FX shots (with no green screen or tracking points). In a bid to launch a career, I’m pretty sure these jobs represented a zero value on the films budget.

Monsters has done what it was designed to do, make money for the producers and launch a VFX specialist as a sought after director, while at the same time entertaining it’s audience. The film is not really an original concept, nor is it a memorable story, but perhaps its greatest achievement is throwing into stark relief the bloated hollywood FX/Star driven vacuous extravaganzas that have come to dominate our cineplexs. Yet another assault on a dying dogma that believes, if you throw enough money at a films production and marketing, at least one will make enough dosh to cover the loses of the many. However, recent box office figures suggest the audience has had enough and are turning up in depleted numbers. But isn’t Monsters just one such film made for a pittance? Well not really, but even if it were, its price tag somehow makes that OK.

What’s truly remarkable about Monsters is that it came together at all. Shooting began with nothing more than an outline. The crew was made up of Edwards, a sound recordist, line producer and editor. The cast consisted of two actors and small parts were recruited locally, many of which couldn’t speak English. But what makes this film really work are the two lead actors Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able. Two talented actors who were familiar with each other before Monsters and considering so much improv and ad lib was called for, this was a major plus.

Ireland is a country where we can afford to make nothing but low budget movies and in reality, those budgets are wildly extravagant compared to Edward’s debut feature. So at the end of the day, it really does come down to talent. Being able to recognise it, resource it and applaud it.

I was recently awarded a First draft loan by the Irish Film Board for a feature project called Miles To Go. I will be blogging soon about the progress of that project.

 

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