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Mike Brune: Director, CONGRATULATIONS!

February 19, 2013

MikelaughsAlexinbg_Congratulations1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of CONGRATULATIONS!, from concept to financing.

Conceptually, I wanted to make a film that was personal to me but not a biography or autobiography. So, I picked a place where I grew, which is the house you see in the film, and wrote a story for that location. The missing persons story was somewhat inspired by the Etan Patz disappearance, which has been in the news of late. However, I was mostly interested in telling the story through the eyes of a detective, who is absurdly thorough and very dedicated, almost to the point of personal detriment. I also wanted to write a film for John Curran, the actor who plays Detective Skok, who was in a short film of mine.

To help finance the film, we launched an Indiegogo campaign with the help of Fractured Atlas and raised over 17K. That was a very rewarding and inspiring experience because we had no idea what to expect when we started that process.

Production was in July of 2011 and lasted about a month. We filmed it just outside of Atlanta, GA, in a suburb where I grew up.

2Q: Cinequest is proud to host the World Premiere of CONGRATULATIONS!. Explain to the audience how you feel about bringing this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

Honestly, I’m excited and nervous. We have some cast and crew coming out to the screening as well as my parents and they’ll be seeing the film for the first time. We walk a fine line between drama and comedy in the film, so as long as audiences can roll with that, I think they’ll enjoy it.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making CONGRATULATIONS!?

The shooting of it was a blast, even though we had some tough days. Overall, I had the time of my life making it. I really enjoy working with actors and since we had a perfect cast, that aspect was fantastic. I also loved working with the art department to create the look and texture of each set in the film.

Post production was challenging as we went through quite a few ups and downs. When you sit and watch a scene and see that it doesn’t work, it can be a sobering realization. But even those moments can be great learning experiences.

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

I sympathize with them there. The choices are daunting, in a good way. I think our film is funny and entertaining and very different from most other films out there. In addition, we covered the front of a two-story house in missing posters. It’s pretty neat to look at.

5Q: The current market for independent films is fractured, to put it lightly, and existing distribution models grow more ineffective with each passing moment. What are your hopes or plans for distribution?

Like many indie filmmakers, I treat a festival run almost like a theatrical run, knowing the prospects of a wide theatrical release to be slim. So, I hope to travel to as many festivals as possible to help promote the film and build a fan base for it. Then, if traditional distribution channels don’t pan out, we can take the film directly to our audience.

Ultimately, our first hope is to land a distributor or some combination of distributors to ensure the film reaches all the platforms available to movies, whether its VOD, Itunes, Netflix, foreign markets, etc., and is accessible to the widest possible audience.

Buy tickets to see CONGRATULATIONS! at Cinequest!

Watch the trailer!

Buy tickets to see CONGRATULATIONS! at the Atlanta Film Festival!

From → Interviews

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