Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just About Famous Chat With Matt Mamula & Jason Kovacsev


These guys are busy.  They have a few upcoming festivals to promote their fantastic short film Just About Famous, reviewed here.   I managed to pin down the filmmakersMatt Mamula (MM) and Jason Kovacsev (JK) and talk about the film.

So, tell me about Just About Famous.  What's it all about?
MM: JUST ABOUT FAMOUS is a tongue-in-cheek short documentary about celebrity impersonators and is probably the most important short documentary of our time.  Okay, kidding about the second part.  It's fun, it's light hearted, it'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry (from laughing that is, well...hopefully), but really it's a 15 minute window into who celebrity impersonators are.         

JK: You know the world is obsessed with celebrities and our film is quick insight into how our celebrity impersonators fit into that obsession.
What prompted you to come up with the idea for the film?
JK: I read about this upcoming celebrity impersonator convention and thought there could be something there and well...there was.  I was really trying to make a comment on the obsession with celebrity, but that part of it didn't really pan out.  

How did you find the stars?
MM: Fortunately, this was the easy part.  Since it was a convention of celebrity impersonators, they were everywhere!  Elvis, Bush, Obama, Britney Spears, Robert De NIro, etc, etc.  The problem was not finding them, the problem was finding the time to interview them!  There were so many that we felt we had missed because they were either working the convention or had already left.  I would have been nice if our crew was larger to have gotten more interviews, but shoulda, woulda, coulda, right?

What were the greatest challenges on set?
JK: As mentioned, finding the time to interview as many impersonators was certainly a challenge, but really the first challenge was gaining their trust.  Greg Thompson, the producer of the "Sunburst Convention of Celebrity Impersonators" was in some ways, cautious in letting us in at first.  Various other video crews have come in and basically made fun of the impersonators and this was never our intention.  We were generally interested in what they do and why.  In the end it was very nice to know that Greg and other impersonators were very pleased with the result.  

What are you hoping for when for film?
JK: That the police don't show up.

MM: The idea was to capture the best impersonators and their stories.  While we were filming, I knew that it was fun filming them and we had some nice interview moments, but after we were done shooting, it was like, "Okay, now how do we put this all together?"  This was a film that was really shaped in the editing room.  PS, I hoped that the police didn't show up either.  

The festival circuit helped you.  What did it do for you?
MM: Taking this film out to film festivals has been a fantastic experience.  While it really is great to see the film on a big screen in front of an audience (and very nerve wracking at times) and doing Q&A's, the real joy is meeting everyone associated with the festivals and the filmmakers.  These are all people that we can reach back out to with future films or filmmakers that we collaborate with or get opinions from.  That sort of stuff in invaluable.  It's like in film school, it wasn't so much the films we made, but the people we forged relationships with.  I unfortunately, got stuck with Jason from my film school experience...hehehe.

JK: Yeah, it has been a great experience going to the festivals and meeting everyone which really gets you excited about making future films.  We've gotten to meet some big time filmmakers and some small indie film makers like us and learned a lot from talking to both.  Hopefully, I'll find someone to replace Matt...:) 

Any films you have seen that have left a lasting impression with you? 
MM: As far as docs go: DEAR ZACHARY, certainly.  I've got two kids so that film really had left a mark on me.  I also loved EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, but then again who doesn't or wouldn't?

JK: Everyone should check out VOICES IN THE CLOUDS, it's a great new doc about how important our heritage is to us as a people. Check it out. 

Any future projects coming up? 
MM: Our partners Jared Hess and John Schaub have been working on a doc about dwarfs.  We've also been trying to get a project about musician Ralph Carney off the ground and I've also got narrative short in the works.  
JK: Our next project is called GRIDIRON GIRLS which is a doc about full contact female football players. 

Anything you want to get off your chest right now?!
MM:  I hope that one day we get paid for all this (that would make my wife happy....).
JK: I hope that one day we get paid for this (that would make Matt's wife happy.....)
MM: It would make your wife happy too...
JK: She's already happy.
MM: She'd be happier.

Haha!  Cheers guys!

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