A docu-drama about filming From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Sarah Kelly takes a non-union film crew onto the set and on location near Barstow of this independent, non-union production. Camaraderie and a constant eye on the shooting schedule dominate interactions. Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney mug for Kelly's camera; Robert Rodriguez, Juliette Lewis and Fred Williamson talk about craft; we watch scenes being shot; and Kelly asks crew members why they do what they do. Also, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees protests the non-union status of 'From Dusk Till Dawn', executive producer Lawrence Bender tells his side, and Kelly talks to a Variety reporter and others. What's the nature of an indie film?Written by
Behind the Scenes look at early Tarentino flick recommended for aspiring filmmakers and wannabe insiders
Everyone wants to be an insider. A veritable cottage industry has sprung up in recent years devoted to taking us "behind the scenes" on movie sets. One of the best films of this type is FULL TILT BOOGIE. In 1997, 26 year old aspiring film-maker Sarah Kelly talked Quentin Tarentino into letting her take a camera crew onto the set to chronicle the making of his gangsters vs. vampires horror epic "From Dusk Until Dawn". Viewers expecting a DVD-style "how'd they do that" featurette obsessed with special effects will be disappointed. But if an insightful and entertaining look at the creative process of film-making, and the people who make it happen, sounds good to you and/or you're considering a career in the industry, this movie is highly recommended. There is plenty of footage of the stars at work and at play but we also get to meet the unsung heroes behind the camera: the production designer, the art director, the craft services guy, the personal assistants, the grips, the drivers. This is Kelly's first directing attempt. Previously she had worked as a production assistant on "Pulp Fiction". Because she is not a slick, seasoned filmmaker, the cast and crew relax and let down their guard. At its best, "Full Tilt Boogie" plays like a candid and engaging "home movie" of day to day life on the chaotic set of a "no frills" independent film. There are the long hours ("we started the day at five in the morning, now it's ten-thirty at night and I'm still working on my computer on time codes"), the bad food ("for lunch all I got was a piece of chicken and two pieces of bread and a melted brownie"), the on set accidents (the saloon set almost burns to the ground after a pyrotechnics shot flares out of control) and the threat of a strike (producer Lawrence Bender has hired non-union crew members, thus incurring the wrath of the powerful IATSE union). Mother Nature also gets in the act. A sandstorm shuts down production; there is a rain delay and the daily challenges of location shooting in 122 degree California desert heat. No wonder people have to blow off steam in the nearby town of Barstow. Kelly's camera catches Juliette Lewis singing karaoke, a local girl flirts with George Clooney and Quentin and his posse warble Merle Haggard tunes by the motel pool (until other guests complain about the noise). In one scene Kelly encourages the crew to dish about on set romances. "I could sleep with any woman on this set," Quentin boasts. He's kidding. (I think.) When various crew members are asked why they chose the film biz, the responses range from prosaic ("for the money") to poetic. "That moment, that 1/1000th of a second as the shutter clicks, it's immortalized on film, " says one youthful crew worker dreamily. "I get a real rush out of that. It's documenting history, history that doesn't exist, we're making it up and it comes to life and I love it." 'Nuff said.
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