Sledge Talks To Gary King

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Sledge Talks To Gary King

I managed to grab some time with Gary King, a fantastic prospect you need to keep an eye out for…

So how did you become Gary King – Filmmaker?

I’ve always loved films growing up, but just never knew one could make a living doing it…which actually could still be the case. I actually had a corporate 9-5 job and made a good living until a wake-up call (layoffs) made me reassess what I always loved and wanted to do — make films. With the loving support of my wife I began the journey about 7 years ago. And here I am, 3 feature films later and a few more coming down the pipeline.



When did you love for films start?

My parents exposed me to every film under the sun while I was growing up. I have fond memories of heading to the video store on the weekend to pick 4 films to see. I’d sometimes fight with my brother on which films were most appropriate for the weekend — almost like we were programming our mini-film festival each week. I truly appreciate the fact that my mom and dad would show me films that I would have never had found on my own at that young age (such as Charade, Rear Window, The Courtjester). I think it really gave me a foundation of knowing where films had been and what they had done.

Any films you have seen that have left a lasting impression with you?

Too many to count. I really think it depends on the genre — I’ve got at least a few films for each category. But if I had to choose a few (in no particular order): LA CONFIDENTIAL, OUT OF SIGHT, MEMENTO, AMELIE, BOOGIE NIGHTS, SHORT CUTS, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (original), STOLEN KISSES, WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, ON THE TOWN, ANNIE HALL, DRESSED TO KILL, BRINGING UP BABY, CHUNGKING EXPRESS, THE LIMEY, FANDANGO, ALL THE REAL GIRLS, DO THE RIGHT THING, LOST IN TRANSLATION, RATCATCHER……

I think you’ve opened a can of worms.

Tell me about Dismal. And how was shooting?

DISMAL was a director-for-hire gig produced by FEARMAKERS. They are an up-and-coming production company with a taste for the macabre and a cool lineup of upcoming feature films. It was a fun time and a great learning experience to work for someone else. The film is about swamp cannibals that hunt down college co-eds who are camping in the woods for an extra credit assignment.

We shot on location in Blakely, Georgia where the town fully embraced our filmmaking crew and actors. The schedule and weather was a bit grueling, but we pulled through.

DISMAL actually has acquired a nice following which is pretty cool. It has recently been acquired by Showtime as well as TimeWarner and Comcast for VOD. The DVD should be released in the near future as well.

What are you hoping for when the film’s released?

I tried to make the best film possible with the resources given to me. The fact that the film was shot very low-budget is apparent in some scenes, but overall I just hope that it finds an audience that can appreciate the film for what it is. It doesn’t try to do too much to re-invent the genre. It just aims for people to enjoy a indie horror film with some mayhem and murder in the backwoods.

Horrors – Are they easy to make? Why do many indie and short filmmakers opt for an horror?

I’ve learned that horror films are not easy to make — let me rephrase that: “good” horror films are not easy to make.

There are so many factors, as in any film, that can contribute to the success of a good film. Be it the script, the actors, the production values, the directing, etc. I think the horror genre though caters to certain built-in audience. Having done DISMAL and taking it to a horror convention it was apparent that fans are eager to embrace new films and want to love them. I’ve learned that they are one of the most open and supportive groups of fans. Because of this, I believe the market is always one of the most viable. They’re hungry and eager to eat up new films.

Now your next feature is New York Lately. How long did it take to realise, from the idea of a film to the finished product ? Talk me through it.

NEW YORK LATELY (NYL) was actually my first feature film. I shot it in December 2007 and while in post-production I was hired to direct DISMAL in the summer of 2008. NYL was an amazing experience because the people involved (both in front of and behind the camera) were extremely supportive of what I was trying to accomplish.

I wrote the script in various forms over the past few years, but wrote the shooting script during the summer/fall of 2007. Being new to New York, I wanted to meet and work with as many people as possible so I expanded the character piece (originally 2 main characters) to create an ensemble drama. We were in post for about 8 months and had a private premiere screening for the cast/crew in October 2008.

Our official world premiere was at the Sedona International Film Festival where we sold out both our screenings. And now it has been in festival circuit all across the US. I’ve been blessed to visit most of them to present the film to new audiences which is very important to me. I love connecting with people to help build awareness about my film work.

What do you hope that people get out of the film?

When audiences watch NYL, everyone comes away with something different which is exactly what I want. Some people really are impacted by the storylines while others find no relation to any of the characters. However, I feel that in everyone’s lives we — at one point or another — conceal certain aspects of us in order to protect ourselves from others. We act in certain ways with people to avoid fear, embarrassment, or whatever it is.

The beautiful part about NYL is we are given moments to peek through a hole just big enough to witness people in a raw naked state. Each character in NYL shares moments where we are let in “behind their curtain” so that we as an audience are privileged to know them intimately. We can choose to judge them or not — but the movie is about seeing people live their lives one way, and then discovering what’s underneath.

Are you ever temped to move into something different? The difference from Dismal to New York Lately is apparent.

Yes. I love all types of films from all around the world. I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself into one genre as I believe that each story is unique and has its own setting — or world. The stories I love come from all over the place and I would never want to be cornered in to only one way of telling it just to fit a genre.

Whose work do you enjoy, and why?

I love filmmakers that can handle different genres well — and can move comfortably between them depending on the story. Directors like Billy Wilder, Howard, Hawks, Danny Boyle, Steven Soderbergh to name a few can move seamlessly from film to film that are drastic in subject and style. These filmmakers all have a special section on my DVD shelf. It’s inspiring to see their body of work is not tied down to one thing. I hope to do the same in my approach to filmmaking.

What are your future projects?

I’ve got several projects I’m really excited about. The first is my next feature film WHAT’S UP LOVELY. It’s a drama about a girl who loses her job and spends the night wandering the streets of New York City encountering strange events and people. It’s in post-production now with hopefully an early 2010 release to festivals. There’s quite a bit of buzz on it from film sites so I’m excited to finish it. People can learn more about it here.

I’ve also been hired to direct a zombie/martial arts comedy which I’ll be a little hush hush about until it gets closer to release. I will be shooting that in just a few weeks. The script is hilarious so I think it’ll be a fun film.

Anything we should watch, read, see, listen to?!

On Twitter (@grking) I make film recommendations all the time — especially supporting good indies. As you’ve seen, when you ask me a question like this I can go on and on — people can feel free to connect with me there and I’d be happy to talk about films and everything under the sun.

My film blog “An Indie Life” also talks about the films and directors that inspire me as well as giving updates on all my film projects.

www.grking.com

Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you. I appreciate BRWC’s support.

Thank you Gary!


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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