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The second edition of the Aruba International Film Festival ran June 10 to 16, 2011
the second edition showcased films from 13 different countries, featuring several international premieres and many U.S.A. premieres. Guest and talents included Jonathan Demme,
Milcho Manchevski, Kim Cattrall, Michael Kaplan, Sergio Sanchez, lech Majewsky. 120 journalists reporting.
The stars will be shining bright at this year's AIFF.
Interview with Chris D'Arienzo on his film Barry Munday
Chris D'Arienzo was unable to make it to the first AIFF but his film was and indeed proved a hit among viewers.
After the festival, I contacted my talented writer friend and asked him if he'd answer a few questions for me about the experience of making his first feature film. Ironically, I had asked to interview him 3 months before the festival for a research project I was doing for University of London but he was too busy so I wrote about David Lynch instead.
Chris made me laugh when he humorously replied later, "I get that a lot. Can't find D'Arienzo, so choose Lynch instead". I think he rather liked that.
But now, just a few short weeks after his film premiered in Aruba at AIFF I have this exclusive one-on-one internet interview with Mr. Chris D'Arienzo himself on his new film, sure to be a hit,
1) Me: Can you please tell us a bit about the film Barry Munday.
Chris: Barry Munday, a suburban wanna-be ladies man, wakes up in the hospital after being attacked in a movie theater, only to realize that he is missing one of his most prized possessions... his testicles. To make matters worse, Barry learns he's facing a paternity lawsuit filed by a woman he can't remember having sex with. With this being Barry last chance to ever be a father, Barry reaches out and embraces the journey of parenthood and the onslaught of bumps that face him along the way. Filled with an ensemble of unusual characters, "Barry Munday" is the surprisingly heart-warming tale of a guy who finds it took losing his manhood to be a better man.
2) Me: What was the inspiration of the film? Was it based on personal experience? I mean, did you ever wake up to find your family jewels missing? lol!
Chris: haha... some of it. The film is actually based on a book ("Life Is A Strange Place" by Frank Turner Hollon) but the character was so flawed in such a real way... such an identifiable way for a guy my age that I did relate to some of his quirks and couldn't help but add a few of my own lame and somewhat embarrassing personalty ticks to the character as well ( however, I have no desire to share which ones are mine!! :)
3) Me: Can you tell us about your books and what it is like to go from book writing to screenwriting to director?
Chris: It was a real joy to adapt this book. The characters were so well drawn and so unique that it was a real treat not only for me but i think for the actors to live in these skins for a while. Shooting the film was an amazing experience. I had an amazing crew who were equally passionate about the film and the most supportive cast a director could hope for. Of course, there were rough moments (as is the case with any independent film I suppose) but every one of them taught me so much and I came out of the experience so much more confident than when I arrived at the project.
4) Me: What do you hope to see with this film? Any message you want to send to your viewers?
Chris: God, I just want the damn thing seen. Haha. The indie world is a crazy place right now. A friend told me when I was first trying to get "Barry" off the ground that there are three miracles in making a film. 1) Getting it made. 2) Having it not be a giant piece of poo. And 3) getting anyone to see it. I got number one down, feel fairly confident about number two, so I am crossing my fingers for number 3. We have distribution with Magnolia so that is a step in the right direction.
5) Me: What are your plans now? Ideas for future projects?
Chris: Well, I also wrote a musical during the time I was setting up "Barry" that is on Broadway right now and I had such an amazing experience with it that I am developing a couple possible theater projects currently. However, I am always looking for the next writing/ directing gig so hopefully I will get back behind the camera again really soon.
6) Me: How hard was it to make your first film?
Chris: Short answer. Yes.... very much so. Getting the thing made was tremendously tough. Shooting it... incredibly easy. Post production... incredibly tough. Getting into festivals... you are at the mercy of the personal taste of a small group so that whole journey is a bit of a crap shoot. We lucked out and made our premiere at South By Southwest which I can say after being there (and being at other very prestigious festivals) it is the best place we could have ended up. The city of Austin loves movies and music in a way that no other film festival location does. period. So that was a real joy. So basically, like anything, there were highs and lows. All you can hope for is that when the dust settles you feel like you had more highs than lows and in the best case scenario you get to end on a high. I feel like we got to do that with "Barry" to some degree.
7) Me: Can you give is an idea of where you think American indie film going today?
Chris: That is a tough one. If I am being honest it feels a bit broken at the moment. The day of the maverick independent doesn't really exist anymore and the indie scene kinda feels like it is on life support. There are a few filmmakers still able to get funding for their "art movies" but most financiers aren't putting up money for non-commercial ideas. The fact is, a filmmaker has to jump through just as many hurdles to make a 3 million dollar movie as they do to make a 40 mill studio movie so what is the incentive? Indie buyers are looking for stars and genre films just like the studios... if not more so. So for a quirky romantic comedy with no "A list" actors (and by "A list" we all know I don't mean "great actors" because my film for example has amazing actors with lots of critical success, but by "A list" in the indie sense I mean actors who mean something to the foreign markets) a filmmaker has enormous hurdles to climb. You want money to make your film today? It better be a Horror movie OR it better star somebody who will mean a great deal to audiences in Turkey when it is finished a year from now. That is the reality facing most independent filmmakers.
8) Me: And saving the best question for last, can you tell us about you? Who is the real Chris D'Arienzo?
Chris: Me? I grew up part of my life in a small farm town in rural Michigan and the other part on the east coast with my mom in cities like NYC, Philly, and DC. So I had a healthy dose of both cosmo living and some really small town living. And I loved it... wouldn't change any of it. I gained so much from having both experiences in my life. I moved to LA right out of college. Wanted to be an actor but sucked at auditioning so I did what everybody does when they arrive in LA... I wrote a script. Then I threw it in a drawer. Forgot about it. Then became friends with a very successful screenwriter who read my script and liked it enough to help me get an agent. From there I just kicked around, doing studio rewrite gigs until I decided I didn't really like that. I then formed a band with some friends, toured the country playing music, and while I did that I wrote "Barry Munday." And then ended up here.... writing interview questions to you!
Me: Thanks a million Chris! You rock! Now Im off to interview Lynch! LOL!
And that, that, I say, that's all folks! :-)
See Barry Munday, coming soon to a theater near you!
Interview by Vanessa McMahon
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