New England-based filmmaker Richard Chandler has recently finished principal photography for his latest movie “Gilgamesh” – a crazy mix of horror, science fiction, drama, erotica, & political thriller.
Gilgamesh will be Chandler’s sixth full-length feature film. His previous feature credits include Scrooge In The Hood (2011), Heaven and Hell (2010), Legless (2010), Our Kingdom Come (2007), and Sons of Perdition (2007).
Chandler expects the post-production period to take several months, because of excessive footage and lots of CGI that is in the film.
Story of the film: An expedition in Siberia goes terribly wrong, as a couple of archaeologists accidentally freed the Sumerian goddess of lust and war Inanna from her ancient prison. While Inanna plots to destroy earth using a giant meteor to collide into the planet, the American president hopes to utilize Inanna as a weapon of mass destruction. However a violent communist takeover of the US government complicates the government’s goal to exploit Inanna. As chaos ensues, the ancient god Gilgamesh ponders whether or not he will act as mankind’s last best hope to save humanity from its rendezvous with annihilation.
BZFilm spoke to Chandler about the film, the funding of Gilgamesh, what inspired him, and how he plans to distribute his latest indie feature.
How did you come up with the idea to make Gilgamesh? Was there anything that influenced you to make this film?
I wrote the screenplay in 2010. I want to say music was my strongest influence.Megadeth and Muse, for example, often had political undertones in their music.As for the rest of the film, I had a dream one night where the idea came to me. I envisioned being lost in Siberia where I stumbled across a cabin. I went inside it in order to survive. That vision inspired the scene where the David character finds Inanna locked up in a cage. She later returns to the United States and acts like a virus to David’s life. Eventually Inanna sets in motion her plan to end of the world.
Gilgamesh was funded via Kickstarter. Were you sure that this platform would help you to gather the necessary funds for the film? What do you think of crowdfunding as a primary option for indie filmmakers to fund their projects?
I think when I started doing it in 2011, crowd funding was fresh and filmmakers would get 5K from fans and associates. Today it’s kind of overpopulated and everyone and their brother has a Kickstarter. Nowadays it only works for very established groups. There’s almost too many Kickstarter projects out there and I’m not sure if I’d be lucky enough to utilize the website again to its fullest potential.
The Kickstarter page of Gilgamesh says the film was funded for slightly over $5K. However the IMDb has the budget of the film at $30K. Which one is correct?
Gilgamesh was only partially funded through Kickstarter. The film’s budget was closer to 30K than 5K. Kickstarter provided one source of revenue but it wasn’t the only source of financing for the movie. Besides crowd funding, there were 1 to 3 private investors and the funds that came from out of my own pocket.
How do you plan to distribute the film? How much of online distribution are you going to use to promote Gilgamesh?
I’m talking to distribution houses now for possible multi-platform releases.Hopefully, you will be able to watch a movie via an Internet stream, but only time will tell on that one. I think Gilgamesh has huge potential. It just needs the right distributor who sees the potential I see. It’s original, entertaining, and well made for a low budget film. Ultimately I’d love to see it get streamed online.
Let’s talk about the CGI in the film. How important a part is it for Gilgamesh? What kinds of effects are used in the film?
CGI effects are a pretty important part of making Gilgamesh. There’s a giant meteor, teleportation visual effects, and of course some blood splatter. A lot of that type of stuff is done with After Effects. At least two scenes were hard to edit without all the teleportation and meteor effects being present. It makes the timing difficult, especially when it comes to adding music later on in the process. But Gilgamesh should look fantastic once it gets streamlined in the final edit.
Most of my films are about the characters. I don’t send out a real message per se.Gilgamesh is a narrative story about certain chaotic events and how a few characters deal with these events. Various people have told me the movie does indeed send the message of what could happen under a totalitarian government.But that’s really only one aspect of the plot; Gilgamesh also has a bit of a love story, drama, and supernatural elements.
I guess one lesson the audience could take away from this movie would be this: don’t trust any mysterious, half-naked girl locked up in a cage that you happen to discover in the frozen tundra.
Judging by the stills from the film – and some of your earlier comments regarding the film – you were somewhat influenced by the collapsed Soviet Union. Can you explain that?
For plot purposes, some of the film takes place in Siberia where the main protagonist, David, discovers the goddess Inanna and unwittingly frees her.Though Siberia was originally just another location, the Soviet aspect of it grew as I developed the story.
From there, people liked the Russian/Soviet characters when they read the script and then (during production) they really dug the uniforms, the Soviet flag, and all the propaganda posters so I just kept going with it. When I put on the Soviet fur hat that I found at an army surplus store, I really couldn’t help myself. The Soviet iconography quickly became an important component for Gilgamesh and it’s partially responsible for giving the movie its unique look.
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