One of the great things that we do at Front Row Reviews is find out about the newest filmmakers and bring them home to you.
Simon Savory (Press Manager & Acquisitions Executive at Peccadillo Pictures, London (Weekend, Tomboy, Skoonheid, She Monkeys, Eyes Wide Open) 2007-2012) is the director of the first LGBTQI road movie and Western, Bruno & Earlene Go To Vegas, which he is currently trying to find funds for and wants help from you via his INDIEGOGO link. The proposed planning for this feature is to go into Pre-Production in August of this year and shoot in September, in LA & Nevada.
He sent me a short synopsis for the film:
When old friend Earlene turns up on the doorstep of ’extremities model’ (hands and feet) Krista in Los Angeles, a spark is ignited that inspires them to take a trip to their dream destination of Paris. Problem is, they’re out of cash, and instead wind up in a gold-mining village in the Nevada desert, populated by a host of Las Vegas escapees – a pair of Chippendales, a drag queen, a sheriff and an ex-Showgirl. For a short while this eclectic community provide cover, but on the run from the cops, a plastic surgeon with a vengeance, and the queen of California’s underground ‘alternative’ gentlemen’s clubs, the two women must prepare for battle. But before doing so, Earlene must come to terms with a hidden truth about Krista’s past.
Intrigued? So am I.
The film itself is comparable in themes and narrative to films ranging from Thelma & Louise, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Transamerica & Death Proof.
He writes of himself:
As a child I used to watch a lot of films and TV shows while sitting on my father’s lap – Bruce Wayne Westerns, Carry On films and the Formula One Grand Prix – bored out of my mind. Second in command of the remote control was my brother – the films of Chuck Norris and Steven Segal being played on constant loop when my father was out. My mother had a soft spot for anything starring Julia Roberts. Then there was the soon to be gay kid who had crushes on Jamie Lee Curtis and Virginia Madsen, whose favourite movies were Thelma & Louise, Candyman and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The film itself is “my love letter to the outsiders, the weird and wonderful people who exist on the fringe, on the outside looking in.” (Savory)
Check out a trailer here:
Simon, took the time out to answer some questions for Front Row Reviews, below are his answers.
1. So Simon, tell us a little about yourself and your film interests?
I’m 29, a born and raised Londoner, who has been lucky enough to have had many offbeat experiences in my life time. I like to think that these have all, in some way or another, led me to where I am now. My film interests are pretty broad, but I’ve always had a particular soft spot for horror films, and films that can be ‘read’ as well as enjoyed aesthetically – the kind of movies you pick apart in film theory classes I suppose.
2. As you said in your press release, Bruno & Earlene has been influenced by films like Thelma & Louise, The Adventures of Priscilla, The Living End and Bagdad Cafe, these are obviously very different kinds of films but where does your film stand?
The influences are more to do with the narrative structure of those films, they are all essentially road movies about oddball characters, where the journey is what shapes them, as opposed to the destination, which is what they think will make all the difference. I like to think it will have a pinch of Priscilla sass, the political balls of Living End, the community spirit of Bagdad Cafe, the gun totin’ bromance of Butch Cassidy and the lipstick girl power of Thelma & Louise. The actual characters of Bruno and Earlene, however, and the people they meet on their journey, are all the product of my imagination.
3. What made you decide to make Bruno & Earlene?
I want to make a film that’s completely ‘out there’, but at the same time real and raw. I also wanted to make it quickly, using all the resources and people available to me. I’m just the rabid Border Collie rounding up a group of very talented sheep.
4. I love the feeling of Paris throughout the trailer, in particular the shot of the Eiffel Tower (in Vegas) shining through the window. Is this a feeling you have had in the past? Wanting to be somewhere and ending up somewhere else?
It ties into the whole road movie trope about wanting to escape, how supposedly the solution is in getting to the destination. I like the idea of having this bizarre symbol like the Eiffel Tower, which is loaded with connotations for one of the characters, and how this man-made structure was originally petitioned by the artists of Paris, who hated the idea of it and tried to prevent its construction. Now it’s considered a cultural icon. There’s even a mock version in Las Vegas which you see in the trailer. Constructing the Eiffel tower it was a big gamble, and yes it was critically drubbed upon completion, but over time people came to like it.
5. It has been said that Bruno & Earlene is first LGBTQI road movie and Western, what does this mean to LGBT cinema to finally be breaking generic boundaries?
The problem is, many audiences don’t want to see something if it is labelled ‘LGBT cinema’, as they expect it will be another film about coming out, or that it will have a lesbian psycho, or gay bashing. There will always be a place for those films. I just want your average Joe or Jane, who usually likes movies with Julia Roberts or Jean Claude Van Damme, to take a chance on this crazy road movie, and end up liking the universal message of it, regardless of the characters and actors who are from the LGBTQI realm. The story is the Christmas tree, the characters the decorations that hang from it. At the top are Bruno and Earlene as a pair of angels, holding guns.
6. A popular argument regarding LGBT cinema is that it alientates a heterosexual audience and therefore they tend to stay away although recently we have seen the success of films like Andrew Haigh’s ‘Weekend’ which do not necessarily relate specifically to an LGBT audience, but rather it just happens to have LGBT characters. Where does Bruno & Earlene stand and what is your opinions on the changing face of LGBT cinema?
That’s exactly it. Weekend was a love story and people related to that. I don’t know where Bruno & Earlene stands, as it hasn’t been made yet. I don’t think it’ll be the kind of movie that stands anyway – it’ll be slouched in the corner clutching a beer, watching all the other movies at the bar and slurring “don’t you know what I am!?”.
7. Are there certain characteristics of LGBT cinema that you believe do not transpose well into ‘mainstream’ cinema?
No idea. Audiences are changing all the time, and they’re becoming more diverse.
8. Do you feel LGBT cinema and ‘mainstream’ are getting closer together thanks to films like ‘The Kids Are Alright’?
Was The Kids Are Alright mainstream? It definitely had the credentials such as casting, budget and studio backing/advertising. However it didn’t achieve mainstream status like say, Weekend. For me, a film like Precious, which had that fantastic scene where she realises her teacher Mrs Rain is a lesbian, achieved a lot more than The Kids Are Alright did when it comes to LGBT representation. Instead of over-egging the political element, I found that moment, which verged on a throw-away gag, was fantastic because it portrayed a confident, intelligent, positive, textured female character, who just so happened to be a lesbian. It made her sexuality trivial in the context of the big issues, which was on the nail.
9. What is the current plans regarding to Bruno & Earlene, you have a stunning poster and trailer, and it seems you have filmed in some brilliant places but where the film now?
I’m re-jigging the script so that it fits the actors and the limited locations. It’s a low-budget feature so a lot of flexibility is required. I’m praying I can get round to shooting it in September. It’ll be mad.
10. What can we expect next from you once Bruno & Earlene is released?
Absolutely no idea. I’ll probably get a job and carry on writing, and maybe make another film if this one doesn’t kill me.
Clips can be found here: https://vimeo.com/brunoandearlene there’s 3 so far, more coming soon.
CAST (TBC): Julia Sandberg Hansson (Postal, The Kreutzer Sonata), Eileen Hirsch, Lorielle New (Grindhouse), Rena Riffel (Showgirls)
DIRECTOR: Simon Savory
EDITOR: Julia Sandberg Hansson
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Zoe White
I want to thank Simon for answering the questions and remember Front Row Reviews will update you on Bruno & Earlene throughout the year.