Thursday, 1 August 2019

Interview with filmmaker Leon Welling

Costigan Bloch will be screening at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

How did you get into making films?
I don't see myself capable of doing much else. I don't believe there was ever a time when I didn't want to pursue making films, but most certainly a time when I wasn't sure how one might go about that. I had started with an interest in animation, and around 2007, decided to pick up a camera to make my first short "We Do Monsters," which actually managed to be aired on the IFC channel!

*What inspired you to make your movie?
I had a concept for a supervillain film, simply put. I had been inspired by lower budget films by the likes of Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch, and foreign films such as Kung Fu Hustle, with the exception of wondering what a dialogue-driven superhero/super-villain film might look like. I don't know if I achieved my ultimate goal, but I had a hell of a lot of fun!

*How has your style evolved?
Costigan Blochs' style can be rather kinetic, moving you along from place to place, which is something I was pretty well known for among my peers. Over time however, I've found myself dialled back, more interested in locked down camera rather than floating. This film is sort of a love letter to films such as Evil Dead, most martial art films, or anything that utilized the camera in a way no one had ever seen. However, Costigan Bloch has its fair share of standard camera angles!

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
To be honest the production went rather smooth. There were the standard silly hi-jinks on set, but outside of that, nothing of note. I should note, this film took me a solid 6 years to push through once production was done. The post production story is a film within itself. I had to break away from post production to animate the sequences in the film, all which took a total of 2 years. The film survived break ups, binge-drinking, loss of friends (even a death) and of course, my own unwillingness to see it through. It was a harsh, harsh thing to be put through for your first feature film, almost an unfair balance towards extremes. But it stands to reason, that most filmmakers I know, have not simply "picked up a camera and went to town." They  have started that way, but they're lying if they're telling you they just kinda breezed through it. At any rate, I plan on writing a full book on my experiences working on the film, but more importantly, what happened in between,something I find most journalistic books about filmmaking ignore. We're all humans, and still have to do that human part of life thingy.

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
It brings to mind precisely what I mentioned in my rant above. This is a working man's industry now, blue collar if you will. For me it somewhat embodies that freedom, yet the constraints you're actually slapped with in the meantime. Don't try to be any other filmmaker, because they've already done it. Nowadays you gotta make work that screams in everyone's face. I hope that answer wasn't totally nonsensical. 

*What can we expect from your next film?
More more planning, much less of a delusional expectation set upon the film itself. Don't get me wrong, I love it when something I make gets more attention than I thought, I treat it like going into a doctor expecting the worst case scenario, only to find out you just have a bad back and ingest too much caffeine. It's somewhat of a relief to lay off the  glamorous expectations of a movie, understand it WILL be rejected often (the worst case scenario) and enjoy those moments when you can breathe a sigh of relief when it nails a festival. (you're just crazy, the doctor says)