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Christopher Folino: Writer/Director of SPARKS

February 24, 2013

MV5BNTc2NzY1ODgwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDc2Njk1OA@@._V1_SY317_CR2,0,214,317_1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of SPARKS, from concept to financing.

Sparks is based on our indie comic book that was published back in 2008, which was a superhero noir thriller about a masked vigilante, Ian Sparks, who discovers the dark side to heroism.

The feature film version brings together two of Hollywood’s rising stars Chase Williamson (John Dies At The End) and Ashley Bell (The LAst Exorcism) who are supported by award winning actors Clancy Brown (Highlander, The Shawshank Redemption), Clint Howard (Apollo 13), Jake Busey (Starship Troopers), and William Katt (Carrie, The Greatest American Hero).

The movie, just like the comic book, was self-financed. I basically saved up for a long time and also did the whole indie filmmaker routine where you max out credit cards and get a bank loan.

2Q: Cinequest is proud to host the World Premiere of SPARKS. 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?

We are so honored to be a very small part of Cinequest, there are so many amazing films, programs and events going on during the festival and lets not forget, they have the man, the myth, the legend , Harrison Ford as a guest Maverick speaker.

I hope whoever comes to watch Sparks is entertained and doesn’t bring fresh produce to throw at the screen, because fresh produce should be eaten.

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

Clancy Brown on set -1 (1)

Clancy Brown on set

My best experience while making Sparks was having my kids come visit me on set. You don’t realize what an impact you have on your children when you’re staying true to your own passion. I would come home and my kids would show me the custom made Sparks Legos they made or how they videotaped scenes from the movie. My Daughter is executive producer and she just turned twelve and she has been like a production sponge watching every aspect of production and how we deal with crew and actors.

The most challenging experience was making the movie on the limited budget, because Sparks is a super hero effects movie set in the 1940s. We had people very close to us tell us that Sparks could never be done or that we would only finish half the movie based on our schedule and splitting the crew up.

Interestingly, right before Sparks I had just read the Steve Jobs Biography and I loved his philosophy on reality distortion which was the belief that you could accomplish anything no matter how distorted the idea was. I could relate to it greatly because people by nature will always tell you “This can’t be done!” or “It’s too difficult!”  However, at the end of the day, we aren’t sending anybody to the moon. It’s a movie. Maybe it’s not the way Hollywood makes movies but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

And we overcame these obstacles because we work with a small army of super talented people making toy commercials. And once you’ve produced a Girl’s Toy TV Spot, you can accomplish anything in life!

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?

David Sobolov

David Sobolov

Sparks may be the only superhero noir thriller to ever have played at Cinequest in its 23 years, so we got that going for us!

However, If you love high production value, amazing music and incredible acting then Sparks is your must see film at Cinequest.

Our two DP’s Jackson Myers and Josh Fritts worked with our lighting guru Brett Carleton to make Sparks look like a studio film. We also had two of the best visual effects artist in the industry, Ehren Addis and Sean Africa work on over 450 effects shots.

And our movie is edited by one of the most talented filmmakers in the world, Max Carlson. Max is an award winning moviemaker. So you’re getting so much cinematic bang for your buck!

We have a music score that rivals any blockbuster movie, because Max Carlson called up Hans Zimmer’s company and they hooked us up with composer Jacob Shea.  Jacob was born and raised in San Jose, CA and he’s the next Hans Zimmer.  What Jacob did with our score is the eighth wonder of the world, it’s that amazing!

And our movie is projected in 2K and our 5.1 surround sound mix was done by Daniel Kresco, who also mixed a little movie called “Man of Steel“.  So good lord are we the luckiest indie filmmakers in the free world or what?

We’re also blessed to have one of the greatest casts ever assembled for a true indie film. And I’m talking about Marina Squerciati, Larry Cedar, David Sobolov, Scott Rinker, Lynne Stewart, Ron Zimmerman, Meredith Zealy, Kevin Sherwood, Stephen Kearin, Austin Coleman, Esteban Cueto, Dave Hanson and many more.

And lastly we will be the only film at Cinequest that has a lovely 180 page graphic novel that you can download on Amazon prior to the screening or buy the novel at Illusive Comics the night before so you can get a jump on what the film will be like.

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?

Self-financing a movie is brutal, selling your movie and not getting screwed by a distributor is even harder. In my experience, most distributors are worse than used car salesmen, they’re simply bottom feeders.

The old saying “Whatever deal you make up front is the only money you will see,” is true. I loathe this part of making a film, we went through it with our first film Gamers.

We are going into Cinequest without screening the movie for any distributor. I want to enjoy my first film festival.  However, we took an educated risk with our cast and our budget that if we made the movie we wanted to, then we will have no problem getting a distribution deal. The challenge will be how honest is the distribution company and are they really showing you the real books?

Watch the trailer!

Buy tickets to see SPARKS at Cinequest!

From → Interviews

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