REMEMBERING FABRIZIO FEDERICO - THE SELF DESTRUCTIVE FILMMAKER SABOTEUR WHO DID IT ALL WRONG IN THE RIGHT WAY
The cult filmmaker's newest film Teddy Bears Live Forever is being released in 2019
There’s never been a filmmaker like Fabrizio Federico. Chances are, there won’t be again. Not only is there an argument for this Brit being the 2000's lost movie-maker, there’s also the debate of him being the filmmaker that killed off the idea of 20th century cinema. As he explains it ''There is a new type of filmmaker that has been reborn and has replaced the traditional filmmaker from the 20th century, more bipartisan. I am a DJ Director, my passion is to glue video into a collage of vision, concentrating on personalities, mixing the styles of MTV, the News & Youtube vlog filmmaking together ''. His newest film is about a faded ''It girl'' suffering from schizophrenia due to an alien abduction and decides that one of her personalities must lose her virginity, even though she's already lost it.
That Fabrizio Federico is a star-shaped jigsaw piece in a square hole should have been clear from the off ever since surviving a house fire as a child. On the eve of the release of his feature film debut 'Black Biscuit' in 2011 he described making the film as being like ''Russian roulette”. He'd originally planned to make the film in North Korea but was denied a visa. He ended up filming in Nottingham with a Greek pimp and falling out of a tree and breaking his foot. Shooting the movie on toy Fisher-Price camera's and mobile phones, his apartment became a haven for the street superstars that he would meet on the streets and cast in his film, including a ping-pong champion, a dominatrix and Big Issue magazine sellers. Somehow he managed to re-finish the film after his computer exploded on the day of Michael Jackson's death.
This week the filmmaker announced that his next movie will be released in 2019. There’s the odd lollop of early Harmony Korine. The groove of Xavier Dolan. The cut and paste ingenuity of Jean Luc Godard. Arguably it’s stranger than any of his previous releases. He is the bedsit Lars Von Trier. Federico represents the filmmaker that for years chewed off his own limbs, simultaneously while editing footage blindfolded, listening to exorcisms on a diet of weed and yogurt, all on a micro-budget.
Raised on punk, emboldened by hip-hop, dance, free to be whatever he wanted – used to the ‘push the envelope, make magic happen, give it away for free’ ideal. On the eve of an era that saw YouTube filmmakers convert their vision into a world wide audience. But Federico delivered cinema folly in spades.
Doggedness, dadaism & drugs
In the beginning, he only screened his films at week-day film clubs, or left copies of his homemade DVD's on tables at bars and gigs. Then after his film 'Pregnant' screened in Essex and caused a riot his films were blacklisted from theatres, starting with a run at the Genesis cinema being cancelled and. Subsequently he has developed a large following in Mexico.
Everything Federico did was tangential. When Empire magazine requested him for an interview, he agreed only on the condition if he would be asked the same questions as put to Stanley Kubrick during the making of The Shining. When he was invited at the Raindance Film Festival he arrived on crutches wearing a T-shirt that read, ‘If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport’. He refused to appear on children’s television. He claimed that YouTube is more popular then Jesus.
Such contrariness and blind scepticism felt genuinely exciting in the film industry that had turned dull.
He pulled karate moves and danced like a Native American shaman. It was presumed he liked drugs. Maybe. Maybe not. “LSD isn't a drug” he said confusingly, but he claiming it cured him from sleepwalking.
Subsequently he went to the Bermuda triangle to get married, and learnt about voodoo and mysticism. Later also recording the soundtrack to his film 'Loon' at Aleister Crowley's abandoned Boleskine House, creating Zodiac Killer art, and introducing his cinema alter ego called Jett Hollywood ''a filmmaker from Mars''. After two films he released a suicide note which resulted in a missing persons investigation when the note went viral.
Smells Like TeenSpirit
Not that he ever thought he was weird. “filmmakers like me should be the norm” said Federico recently. “I think it’s weird that very average, banal films are the norm, Im looking for cinematic nirvana”.