Jovy Talks FOUND FOOTAGE 3D With Cast/Crew!!

ffposterIt’s no alien concept that trying to make a movie is difficult. Aside from putting together financing, one has to make sure the right crew is put together. From those working the camera to the cast we get to watch onscreen, if the pieces don’t fit then the movie might come out to be a tangled up mess without any continuity. That can range from behind the scenes drama involving disagreements over final cuts or actors giving an uninspired performance. It’s that great team that can help elevate the film experience to keep viewers coming back for more. Every year in Rosemont, Illinois, the Bruce Campbell Horror Fest hosts a slew of new films, often with the cast and crew of those projects attending to participate in Q&As and interact with fans. This year, one of those movies was director Steven DeGennaro’s FOUND FOOTAGE 3D, a self aware take on the divisive subgenre that loves to indulge on the gimmicks pretentious critics spends their time tearing apart. Having the pleasure to attend this year, I was able to spend some time with the cast and crew and, upon entering the room, it was clear this was one of those teams that was a great fit.

In case you haven’t heard yet, FOUND FOOTAGE 3D surrounds a group of filmmakers who set out to utilize their budget limitations and create the next big found footage movie, SPECTRE OF DEATH 3D. The director of the movie within a movie, Derek (Carter Roy) casts himself as the lead in a vain attempt to exploit his own failed relationship with Amy (Alena von Stroheim), even casting her as his female lead. Their characters in SPECTRE feel a trip into a cabin in the woods might help solve their problems and he wants to document the experience…in 3D. Of course, strange things start happening and a supernatural force seems to feed off their negative energy and familiar devices ensue. Derek’s crew decide on what kind of gimmicks they’re going to use, including filming with 3D cameras in order to capitalize on ticket surcharges so the movie is a guaranteed financial success. His feelings towards the people he hopes will pay to see the movie aren’t the most passionate, but greed is what motivates him and begins to create tension amongst the crew. This leads to the spirit from their movie to transition into reality and everything they were making fun of becomes what drives the terror in FOUND FOOTAGE 3D.

Blurring the lines of fantasy and reality, film critic Scott Weinberg gets an onset visit, playing an exaggerated version of himself that helps add some humor to IMG_4135the film. Some of his moments feel like he’s the voice of the audience as he can’t seem to hide his distaste when he’s presented with footage and gives a dry response when he sees what kind of production team is at play.

“My favorite joke is that these guys think I’m a big deal,” Weinberg exclaims with a big smile. “I love making fun of myself. By trade, I’m a film critic and film writer. I’ve been doing it for 15 years. I’m sure that I’ll read a handful of negative reviews of this movie and I will not have any problem with any of them unless they talk shit about our cast. Our cast is stunning. If you don’t like the movie, if you don’t like the horror, if you don’t like the effects, if you don’t like the tone, that’s cool. If I read that you don’t like the acting, I might get angry.”

Tom Saporito who plays Thomas jokingly yells “You don’t know shit about shit!”

Degennaro shared how Weinberg’s involvement started and it stemmed from a meeting in 2013. “Before I had raised a single dime, in fact I had just gotten the first check for the movie that week. The part was written for a horror blogger. We knew we were going to try to cast someone to play themselves in the movie. We didn’t necessarily know who. A mutual friend of ours happened to suggest that I get in touch with Scott Weinberg and he was in town for Fantastic Fest. I remember seeing introducing stuff at the Fest and so I just went up to him and was like “Hey, Scott, I’m making this movie. It’s called FOUND FOOTAGE 3D.”

Instantly, Weinberg replies, “I said I’m in! I said it because I like found footage and I hate 3D. I think it’ll be a fun challenge.”

The concern of what kind of reaction the film would get from casting a well known personality in the genre was acknowledged, by both Weinberg and Degennaro. “You know I’m a film writer,” Weinberg continues. “ I’m not an actor. I’m flattered to be invited. He hired me to play myself. I read the script. He (Degennaro) said the premise is fine, but the dialogue we’re gonna play with. I said good cuz I’m not an actor. You’re gonna get 6 good actors and my scenes are gonna ruin the movie. When I got on the set, I thought oh my God, you got real good actors. I felt like a phony and that I didn’t belong there.”

Degennaro: “I will admit, I was a little bit nervous. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of him. There’s probably going to be a five minute reel on the DVD of just Scott Weinberg. I didn’t put any words inside Scott’s mouth except his last ones. I wanted him to just play himself and be Scott.”

FFbannerOne of the fun aspects of FOUND FOOTAGE 3D is that we get some great special effects gags and even a blood bath of a third act. Jessica Perrin, who plays Lily, gets pretty beat up throughout the movie, including one of the movie’s first jump scares.

Perrin: “I got to do the fun stunts in the film. I got put in a harness and Jeff Schwan was at the other end and I got to fly back like ten times that night.

Weinberg: “For me, I was worried how that would turn out, but it turned out much better. She was game all night to be yanked.”

Perrin: “Scott and I were the only two (to get harnessed). We were harness buddies.”

DeGennaro: “It was fun doing Scott because it happened during the only scripted line he has. The first couple times we did it, he knew when we were going to pull him so he was anticipating a bit. So eventually I went to Jeff Schwan and we pulled him in the middle of his line. I mentioned to Jeff later that I felt bad doing it and mentioned that Scott was a producer. Jeff was like “Oh I thought he was just an actor. If I knew that, then I would have pulled harder!”

There are moments throughout FOUND FOOTAGE 3D where we get to watch the crew edit footage, while a webcam screen is open showing what’s behind us. There’s no doubt filming this was as confusing as it sounds, but these sequences were essential in order to deliver some of the best scenes in the movie.

Stroheim: “It was very technical. It was pacing and timing. It was interesting having conversations as the character as we filmed.”

DeGennaro: “She hated filming it. She had to concentrate on what she was filming and her acting as the character. Chris (O’Brien, who plays Mark) had to handle the camera for about 50/50 and worked closely with out DP.”

O’Brien: “Between every take, he was helping me what to do with the camera. I had taken a photography class when I was 15, but had never picked up a camera like that before. I was really proud of some of my shots actually. It was really complicated. The scenes where there’s like multiple cameras filming, I’m also operating cameras, but talking to characters as my character it was like being asked to do three different styles of acting at the same time. Doing all these things at once, but keeping track of all these moving parts, it’s exhausting.”

DeGennaro: “These were all long takes, so if someone fucked up, then that was it and we had to start all over again. It’s amazing how rarely that happened.”

Weinberg: “Found footage really constrains you on what you can do editorily. You shoot a traditional movie and shoot five takes, you can mix and match what you want.”

DeGennaro: “And it can’t feel rehearsed because we’re making a found footage movie.”

Perrin: “The majority of us have theater background so it kind of felt like doing a play.”

Stroheim: “Once you’re in it, you’re in it. You just have to stay focused.”

Sitting in the same group with this group didn’t feel much like a formal press junket as the each participant would refer to the other to share memories on set, as if one were hearing vacation stories from a friend who just got back. That chemistry translates to the screen in FOUND FOOTAGE 3D, helping create substantial moments of jealousy and love surrounded by terror. DeGennaro managed to bring together an eager group of actors and crew that were willing to be thrown around in 3D, much to our delight, and has delivered a successful meta interpretation of a subgenre that’s easy to become a parody of.

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