Joey Abi-Loutfi, Eric Staley, Ian Thorpe from ETERNITY: THE MOVIE
(from left to right) Director Ian Thorpe, actor Jon Gries, writer Joey Abi-Loutfi and producer Eric Staley smile and pose during one of the last days of filming in San Diego’s abandoned Department of Transportation building.
1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of ETERNITY: THE MOVIE, from concept to financing.
Writer, Joey Abi-Loutfi:
My good friend Eric Staley approached me in 2006 to write a screenplay for his business partner, Ian Thorpe, to direct under their company Sidecar Productions. I wrote them a few different treatments, and this one grabbed their attention. I was listening to a lot of Hall & Oates and Richard Marx at the time… don’t ask. Additionally, I had some male friends who truly platonically loved me, but had a hard explaining their love, because, well, we’re into girls. I also thought that was funny, so that became the basis for these two characters. I combined all these thoughts, and whammy, Eternity!
Producer, Eric Staley:
The initial script went through years of modifications and production concerns and 7 years later we met with Kevin Tostado, a local producer/production partner, and he had the idea of setting a date to shoot and not looking back.
Director, Ian Thorpe:
To finance the film we raised most of the budget via private investors, but we also raised $50k on Kickstarter. Also, Sidecar Productions, our joint production company, was able to contribute a lot of sweat-equity to cover much of the post-production tasks/costs. Principal photography was completed in July 2012, and the last year and a half has been dedicated to post-production.
2Q: Cinequest is proud to host the World Premiere of ETERNITY: THE MOVIE. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?
Ian: I am really excited to premiere my first feature film in front of the Cinequest audience. As a Northern California native, I couldn’t be happier with the first showing being in the bay area. I think people are really going to enjoy the movie, there is something for everyone, the comedy is dry and very tongue-in-cheek, the music is silly but catchy, and 80s nostalgia make it a fun reflective ride for people who lived the era.
Joey: I feel extremely blessed, and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished. But it’s strange thing: being a comedic film, the audiences’ laughter will be the real test of the film’s success.
Eric: We have a great, energetic and fun film. I can’t wait to let the audience enjoy what we have created, even though I am little nervous.
3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making ETERNITY: THE MOVIE?
Eric: Unfortunately, everything costs more than when you created your budget, but it was so fun looking for 80s gear, wardrobe, and locations. Rubik’s Cubes rock!
Ian: My best experience on the film was working with a talented group of people both in front of and behind the camera, it was a true pleasure. Oh, and the craft services, huge shout-out to Annette for keeping the truck stocked with all my favorite snacks.
Joey: We filmed over the summer of 2012 while we all lived under one roof. It was like summer camp, except we created something special and didn’t get sexually assaulted by camp leaders.
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?
Joey: I like to tell people the film is about acceptance, but really, it’s a bunch of sex jokes with epic 80’s R&B music and costumes to pull it all together. I mean, if you like laughing really hard and listening to super rad music, then this would be the movie to see!
Ian: 9 words: Two dudes making smooth R&B music in the eighties. We could get technical about how many words ‘R&B’ should count as, but the point is that the movie has a great sense of humor that is understated and lets the audience decide for themselves when to laugh.
Eric: If you want to be entertained by colorful wardrobe, energetic music, awkward dialogue, and feathered hair then Eternity is the film for you.
5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Best Director (or Screenplay) Oscar for ETERNITY: THE MOVIE. Give us your acceptance speech.
Ian – Best Director: I’d like to thank Aquanet, Rubik’s Cube, Neon, and Daryl and John, for making this film possible. I’m glad that audiences and the academy can appreciate humor that doesn’t rely on a laugh-track, slapstick, and fart jokes (okay, so there is one fart in the movie, but it’s classy). [Then the music starts playing and microphone lowers down into the floor, so I get down on all fours to talk into the mic before it goes away…] And I also want to thank my beautiful wife, sorry honey, I’ll get my life back now.
Joey – Best Screenplay: I would start by thanking the cast and crew; they’re the ones that made this story truly funny. I’d thank Sidecar Productions and our investors for believing in my writing and giving me this opportunity. I’d thank Hall & Oates for being the hit makers that they, as well as Nick Faiella, the man behind the movie’s original hit songs. And I would end by thanking my family for loving me so much. And my mom, because I promised her I would.