Category Archives: Interviews

MISSION INTO THE PAST: CALIN CAZAN ON “DELTA SPACE MISSION”

We sat down with Delta Space Mission‘s  to reminisce about the making of the 1984 Romanian space epic and get a recommendation for where to eat in Bucharest.

Mr. Cazan provided some additional notes and links post-interview:

“Romanian cinema had several studios: for live-action films there were several studios in Buftea (near Bucharest); for documentaries, there was a studio, Sahia, with two offices in the capital; for animation, there was Animafilm, with two offices.

About 300 people worked at Animafilm. The animation was best for the budget, because it made series for children (6 to 12 years old) that sold well, for television, bundled in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

I studied architecture at the Ion Mincu Institute of Architecture—after my internship, I went to Animafilm. After graduating from a course taught by Victor Antonescu, I joined as an animator. Because my architecture studies were not recognized, I also attended courses at the Institute of Fine Arts.

Victor Antonescu initiated a sci-fi series, based on which the General Manager launched a kind of promotional contest for a new series. Together with Mircea Toia, we assembled a team to work on the first episode, which was a success. The management asked us to continue the series.

Delta Space Mission was intended for ages 12-20 years, and over. The destination was also international, targeting the countries with which Animafilm already had commercial relations.

Of course, we were influenced by the sci-fi movies that were on the market at the time. But also the books and publications. George Anania, who was the director of Animafilm, was also a writer of sci-fi novels.

For a meal in Bucharest, I recommend, for young people, ”Curtea Veche,” and for those close to my age, any restaurant in Charles de Gaulle Square or Herăstrău Park.”

Literary influences on Delta Space Mission:

  • Jules Verne – “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, “Around the World in Eighty Days”, “A Journey to the Center of the Earth”, “From the Earth to the Moon”
  • Isaac Asimov – Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), Second Foundation (1953), I Robot (1951)
  • Arthur C. Clarke – 2001 – A Space Odyssey (1968), “2010 – Odyssey Two” (1982), “Rendezvous with Rama” (1973)

Movies cited as influences on Delta Space Mission: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); Meteor (1979); War of the Worlds (1953); Solaris [Solyaris] (1972); Stalker (1979)

Other movies discussed/subsequent favorites: Spaceballs (1987); Up (2009); Inside Out (2015); Zootopia [AKA Zootropolis] (2016); WALL-E (2008)

Calin Cazin’s personal homepage

Victor Wegemann’s paperback science fiction covers that helped inspire the look of the film

VINTAGE 366: LOST INTERVIEW ARCHIVES

Fifty-seven years ago today, popular interviewer Jack Stanton sat down with “premise consultant” William Ŝerco to discuss the inception of the cult film, Incubus. Having languished on the only known reel-to-reel recording for over half a century, Giles Edwards discovered this astounding artifact while antiquing outside Ashtabula, Ohio. Despite cutting out early (at a particularly exciting juncture), it is still an important piece of this cult phenomenon’s obtuse history.

Audio recording of the “lost” interview with Esperanto consultant, William Ŝerco. Transcript below.

Jack Stanton: And as the sun emerges ever more brightly from its wintertide rest, and the meadows emerge from the chilled waters lingering after the vernal equinox, I greet you, dear listener, and proudly present my evening’s guest: advisor to famed producer and director Leslie Stevenson, William Ŝerco. Mr. Ŝerco, good evening.

William Ŝerco: Dankon, Jack. Estas plezuro esti ĉi tie por diskuti pri mia filmo. Male al la nelavitaj amasoj, mi esperas, ke vi trovis la sperton kaj ekscita kaj edifa.

JS: Mr Ŝerco, I state with no sense of shame that indeed this film towered mightily above the dross that is better known as 1966’s standard cinematic slate.

WŜ: Fakte! La miraklo, kiu estas Incubus, mirigas eĉ min mem, min mem kiu, dum dek ok tagoj kaj poste, gvidis Leslie Stevenson al la glora vizio de mondo de Esperanta Horora Kinejo—ĝenro, kiun mi forte atendas, ke mi firmiĝos nun en la mondo. ekkonsentis kun mia genio.

JS: To begin, may I inquire how it was that you came to be a “premise consultant”? From my research, I am led to believe that this role is singular to this most singular of films.

WŜ: Estas simple: mi estas civitano de Esperanta. Naskita kaj kreskigita de du plensangaj Esperantaj gepatroj. Kaj pli-do, mi plene konas la arkanajn manovrojn kaptitajn surekrane de la ludludantoj William Shatner et al.

JS: It had been my understanding that the phenomenon of “Esperanto” was an academic contrivance, but now you say it is a genuine language of an actual people.

WŜ: Zamenhof estas kromvorto por “ĉarlatano” por mia popolo. Li venas valsante, asertante esti kampesploristo, longe pridemandis la maljunulojn, antaŭ ol malaperi kaj asertante, ke li kunmetis nian belan “o”-finan lingvon el nenio! Ĝi igas mian sangon boli memori—

JS: Ahh, yes, I can see that. But if I might beg you to remain seated, there is a great deal of delicate recording equipment right by your—

WŜ: Baldaŭ venos la tago, ke la vico de Zamenhof estos nenio alia ol malbenita, senfrukta branĉo de la morto, kaj ĉiuj parencaj estos dividitaj de la rapida kaj justa justeco de la Esperanta popolo!

JS: No, please, Mr Ŝerco—

Coincidentally, the reel snapped and burnt to cinders at this juncture despite much waving of hands in distress on the parts of Greg Smalley and Giles Edwards. It seems that the curse of Incubus continues.

INTERVIEW: ENTERING “STRAWBERRY MANSION”

Grab yourself a chicken shake and listen as 366 Weird Movies sits down with and to discuss their new movie, Strawberry Mansion (full review). Mansion is set in a comically dystopian future where an auditor (Audley) is assigned to assess the dreams of an elderly woman for tax purposes, and finds himself falling in love with her younger self (in dreams). As always, stay to the end for hometown restaurant recommendations (from Baltimore, MD and Lexington, KY).

Strawberry Mansion is now available for VOD rental.

“THE SHOW”: SIOBHÁN HEWLETT TALKS MOORE AND MORE

Anecdotes, ambitions, and asides flow forth during this in-depth interview with film star and executive producer Siobhán Hewlett. Known in her home town(s) as “the surfing guitarist,” Ms. Hewlett was good enough to make time for 366. Over the course of an hour, behind-the-scenes stories come to light as Hewlett and Giles Edwards chat about Alan Moore‘s film debut, The Show, directed by the maestro’s long-time photographer Mitch Jenkins.

INTERVIEW: LYNN LOWRY, A LIFE IN CULT FILM

sat down (via telephone) with 366’s to discuss her long and distinguished career. Ms. Lowry tells tales from the sets of I Drink Your Blood (1971), The Crazies (1973 and 2010), Shivers (1975), Cat People (1982), and more, gives her impressions of , , , Radley Metzger, , , and others, and explains why low budget independent films are more fun (if less lucrative) than big-budget Hollywood projects. From cutting off hands to playing bi-curious housewives to getting mauled by a leopard, she’s done it all. And she’s still going strong, with almost forty projects listed on IMDB in various stages of completion for 2021 and 2022!

To our knowledge, at just over an hour, this is the most extensive Lynn Lowry retrospective available anywhere.

Listen below!

JULIO MARIA MARTINO AND DAVID HAUPTSCHEIN REVISIT “COUNTRY OF HOTELS”

Giles Edwards interviews director Julio Maria Martino and writer David Hauptschein about Country of Hotels, their triptych of surrealist vignettes that “linger in the mind like stale cigarette smoke in a shabby hotel room.” The men discuss the proper role of mystery in film, the Brown Chicken murders, and the importance of leaving your living room. Plus, restaurant recommendations for London and Chicago.

UNDER THE TABLE WITH “MAN UNDER TABLE,” NOEL DAVID TAYLOR

On February 25th, Gregory J. Smalley and Giles Edwards chatted with via Zoom about his feature film debut, Man Under Table, which just debuted at the Slamdance Film Festival. Here is the transcript (lightly edited for clarity); the raw video is at the end of the post.

366: We’re here to interview Noel David Taylor about his debut film, which he wrote, directed, and starred in, called Man Under Table. It’s a surreal satire about a sarcastic young filmmaker trying to making his first script in the indie world where all his peers’ careers seem to be advancing a little bit faster than his. Mr. Taylor, as an introduction, would you care to give us some information on your own background and how this project came to be?

Noel David Taylor: I have been making short films pretty much as long as I can remember. I just moved to LA about six years ago, and just bounced around trying to find a place. I got kind of frustrated and embroiled in this “indie film” scene that I’m satirizing in this film, and I started writing about my little experiences and frustrations in that arena.

366: “No” is a perfectly reasonable answer to both parts of this two part question: can you explain why you named the movie Man Under Table, and the follow-up is, did you ever consider naming it “Guy Under Table”?

NDT: It’s funny, “Man Under Table” is the first part of this film. Me and a friend of mine were just joking around one day, sending fake movie titles back and forth, and we landed on that one, and for some reason, it just stuck with me. I think I was starting the script at the time, and I just thought it was funny. And yeah, there is that part of the movie where the character Gerald keeps saying “guy under table”, which is almost the titular line, but not quite. 

366: You are writer, director, producer, and star of this feature, so obviously a very personal film for you, and as you just mentioned, talking about a number of personal experiences hashed out in a semi-fictionalized way. Of these four, which was your favorite? Did you like to be acting more? Did you enjoy the direction? Or is this just one ball of output?

NDT: I think it’s a combination. Because I started messing around making short films when I was a kid, I always used each part of it to aid the other part. So for certain projects—my own projects—I feel like it’s really hard for me to separate those things. They kind of lend to each other. But more and more, especially starting with this project, I kind of just enjoy the writing. It’s the part where there’s slightly less stress. You can do it in your own time, no one’s around.

366: Except in the experience of the main character there, yeah.

NDT: [laughs]

366: He always introduces himself as, “I’m writing a movie”, and that reflects your thoughts there. A brief follow-up question in that vein: did you ever think to cast someone else as you?

NDT: Oh yeah. When I started building this project, I intended on doing a lot more outsourcing. I certainly didn’t want to shoot it. The people I had around me, I couldn’t really get on board. I had Continue reading UNDER THE TABLE WITH “MAN UNDER TABLE,” NOEL DAVID TAYLOR