QFest has had a good, long relationship with Casper Andreas (The Big Gay Musical, Between Love & Goodbye, A Four Letter Word,Violet Tendencies) making his latest film Going Down in La La Land the perfect choice for our closing night film.
We got a chance to have a little chat with Casper on La La Land, filmmaking and QFest!
Q: What attracted you to the novel “Going Down In LA-LA Land”?
CA: I used to live the struggling actor life in LA about 10 years ago; so I loved the depictions of that world in the novel. I also thought it was interesting why anyone (like the lead character Adam) would think it would be a good idea to get into pornography.
In addition, I really loved some of the characters in the novel — in particular Candy — and I thought it would all lend itself really well to a feature film.
Q: Going Down in La La Land is about the seamier side of the entertainment industry. Any first hand knowledge of the porn world?
CA: No. But I have a friend who worked on the administration side for a company in LA ; he gave me advice on the script in addition to helping me secure some locations and extras for some of those scenes.
Q: Other than comedic, how would you describe your signature style; particularly for viewers who have not yet seen your previous films?
CA: Well, if they haven’t, they should buy them at once!
I guess I’m mostly known for my sexy romantic comedies. This film is a bit darker — more of a dark comedy, or a dramedy, and I like the tone of it a lot. For me, it’s important to make films that are well-acted, nicely shot, and with interesting stories that have something to say, even if on the surface, they might be very light and comedic. So far all my films have been very low-budget; but I work very hard for them to not look low-budget! I think “Going Down in LA-LA Land” is my most ambitious film to date and my sleekest looking film as well.
Q: You founded Embrem Entertainment in 2004. So many filmmakers want to produce and distribute their own films. How hard was it to get Embrem started? And did you have help with financing?
CA: My first film “Slutty Summer” was shot on a micro budget and me and my roommate at the time, who came on as a producer, put up all the money and countless hours into making the film. The success of that film made it easier to get investors for my second one.
Today it’s even more possible to make a great looking film on a tiny budget, if you have some talent and are willing to put the time in. So I would advice anyone who wants to do it, to stop talking about it and go out and do it!
Q: Does Embrem go to film festivals and seek out films to distribute?
CA: I got into distributing my own films as a way to get them released the way I wanted, keep some control, and hopefully be able to pay back my investors faster, but I’m not really interested in distributing anyone else’s films at this time.
Q: The QFest film synopsis says that a strong element to the film is the relationship between the lead Adam and his roommate Candy. Was this the case in the novel? Or did you punch this up for the film?
CA: That was in the novel as well. Candy says and does some hilarious things in the novel that I included in the script. I changed the character a bit from the novel though to make her more likable and a little less of a user. Actually, Candy in the film is also partly inspired by my straight female roommate who I lived with in LA for a while and who like Candy, was always looking for a man to help support her.
Allison Lane who plays the role is fantastic. At screenings so far everyone adores her! I think we succeeded in creating two leading characters who are endearing in all their flaws and who the audiences are rooting for in the end.
Q: And, was it difficult casting to find a Candy that would have the right chemistry with Matthew Ludwinski?
CA: Actually, I cast Allison first. She had a role in my film “A Four Letter Word” and I just loved her and as I was writing the script I knew she would just be perfect for it. I had worked with Matthew as well — he had a role in my film “Between Love & Goodbye” and he was the first person I read for the role of Adam. But since it’s quite a demanding role (Adam is in almost every scene). I felt I needed to see other actors as well; so I auditioned actors both in LA and NYC for the role before offering it to him.
I then had Matthew and Allison meet up and work together on their relationship and they became great friends. It’s funny, at the time of us making the film they were both based in NYC. Matthew moved to LA earlier this year, and now Allison just moved to LA as well, and is staying with Matthew while looking for a place.
Q: What do you love about QFest?
CA: That you play all my films!! QFest has been very supportive of my work over the years – all six of my features, plus a short, has played the festival. “A Four Letter Word” was the opening night film in 2007 and “The Big Gay Musical” was the closing night film in 2009. Last year, “Violet Tendencies” was a centerpiece film. I’m thrilled to be back with another closing night film!
“La La Land” screened this month at Oufest here’s an excerpt of Greg in Hollywood.com’s review:
The movie was shot in 19 days in and around Los Angeles. While it has its dark moments, overall, “it’s a feel-good movie. You can’t stop laughing from beginning to end. I think anyone who has ever pursued acting or moved to LA will really relate to this movie.”
Single tickets and Closing Night Combo tickets are available.
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