Thursday, January 06, 2011

Take 5 with "River City Dead"

Daniel Lee, director of "River City Dead"
As we gear up for the Oxford Film Festival 2011 to be held at the Malco Studio Theater on Feb. 10-13, 2011, we thought we might introduce you to some of the people behind the movies we can't wait to show you.

Meet Take 5 filmmaker, Daniel Lee - writer, director, actor, criminal mastermind of "River City Dead" and the music video "976-Evil," as he answers questions about "River City Dead" which plays the late night block on Friday, Feb. 11 at 10 p.m.

For the full schedule and description of the films, visit

Q. 1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.

A: Hardboiled detective + hawt chicks in nazisploitation costumes + zombies= EPIC WIN! You see the amount of leg on the poster? It sells itself

Q. 2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?

A: Well I learned it is apparently a lot easier to raise money than I initially thought. We ran a very successful Kickstarter campaign. This 'crowd-funding' trend.... It just never really occurred to me to just ask people for money before. Where I come from, we call that 'begging'.
I should not fail to mention here that we found out what a great promoter Johnny McPhail is. That guy is a dynamo. Due to his experience, he was also full of great ideas during production. Some directors don't like for their talent to make suggestions, but I got no ego problems with it. I'll take a good idea from anybody.

The best part of making any film is the fact that I can sucker beautiful women into letting me hang around them for hours. And I can keep staring and leering at them under the guise that we are making art. They even let me tell them what to wear, do, and say. Life don't get no better than that.

While I have the floor, I want to give a big shoutout to April Perea, Laura Warner, Melanie and Peggy and all the good folks at the Link Centre, Duane P. Craig and Joey Paul Gowdy who not only made the movie possible - they made it EPIC.

By the way, that is two questions. This is either Take 6 - or a complete lie. Are you from Fox News?

Q. 3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?

A: When I was a kid, we used to make movies with GI Joes and the stop-motion feature on my grandpa's Zenith camcorder.

Eventually, I got into filmmaking due to my music career. I made a couple crappy music videos just as projects to learn how to edit. It was pretty easy transitioning my experience in multitrack recording of music into editing video.
People who know me from music are surprised I can cobble together a 'movie'. People who only know me as a 'filmmaker' are always really surprised at my musical abilities. What nobody knows yet is how great a racecar driver I am. Unfortunately, I will likely never compete in a NASCAR race. So nobody will ever know.

I pretty much always wanted to try making movies.
So one day I did. Now here we are, years later, and I'm actually making some progress and climbing up the ladder. Whodathunkit?
To quote the great Operation Ivy: "All I know is that I don't know nuthin."

Q. 4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film?

A: I plan on releasing it through various underground street vendors in a few different cities.... but I'm going to put it out only on Capacitance Electronic Disc - also known as RCA Select-A-Vision. (Google it.) Because I'm retro-cool like that. That's right, up until a month ago, I was driving a 78 Ford Futura with an 8-track player. That John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album is awesome all year long, baby!

Q. 5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?

I wrote River City Dead with a lot of loose ends on purpose. River City is a world I may further explore in additional films. There has been some talk about making several shorts and releasing them on dvd together. (Oh wait, i mean Capacitance Electronic Disc!) Or I might do a River City Dead comic book. I would also be very interested in animation. That's also probably a better answer to your last question.

The only thing I can say with 100% certainty that the future holds for me is death and taxes.
Right now, the immediate future for me is music videos. Oxford's own The Cooters have a video in the pre-production, as well as a band called Distrait - whose frontwoman, Bran Simmons is by far the most BRILLIANT singer-songwriter-producer I've ever met in my entire life. You have no idea how good she is - but you soon will! She and her brother/bandmate also appear in River City Dead, by the way.

As far as narratives, my wife April Perea has written a wonderfully strange short film about a mysterious hitch-hiker that is in the pipeline.

The one thing I feel like I have left to prove is that I can make a more mainstream, commercially successful film. And I'm working on writing a dramedy feature called "Hearse Driver" that will be my big commercial push toward selling out.
I like my punk rock street cred and all.... but street cred don't pay the mortgage.
Anybody know which crossroads I can find Ol' Scratch at? I got something I wanna sell him...

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