Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Electric Man writer/directer David Barras talks U.S. DVD release and more!!

A couple years ago a movie made it's debut here at the Port Townsend Film Festival. I wasn't a regular attendee at the film fest, but came across an intriguing film in the program guide. It was a comedy about a couple down on their luck comic book shop owners whose luck changes when they stumble across a priceless comic. The movie also starred a local actress, so I figured why the hell not? Comedy and comic books. Right up my alley. The movie...Electric Man...and might I add, I try to attend the Film Fest every year now!

I wasn't expecting to see a film masterpiece by any means, but I was absolutely surprised by Electric Man. It was a very funny film with a very Kevin Smith "Clerks" feel. I didn't even have trouble understanding the accents, which can be tricky sometimes when watching Scottish/English films. I'm definitely a fan of this movie!

I'm not going to ramble too much about Electric Man. The movie is finally making it's U.S. DVD release today actually. I highly recommend you go our and buy or rent this movie and see for your self! Even more exciting, I managed to get a quick interview with the writer/director of Electric Man, Mr. David Barras, where we talk Electric Man, Comic Con, the U.S. release and more! Check out the interview. Watch Electric Man. Email your local Comic-con to bring it in for a screening. Check out this trailer for Electric Man then check out the Q&A with the creator.

First off, I'd Like to thank the writer/director of Electric Man, David Barras, for taking time to answer these questions for us. I'm sure things are hectic with the upcoming U.S. DVD release.

-Do we have an exact date as to when that drops here in the states?

DVD on September 10th, available from Passion River and then on iTunes, Xbox and Playstation digitally, available through FilmBuff.

-Is it going to be widely distributed? Do we know where it will be available yet?

It should be relatively widely available, we're also hoping it will be picked up by some of the indie comic shops, but if you wait until October and you have a computer or a games console, there's no excuse for not checking it out.

-This won't be the first time Electric Man has been seen in the U.S. The film actually made its world premier at the Port Townsend Film Festival, in Port Townsend (Where I happen to reside), WA to a great response. How was the PTFF lucky enough to have the film debut here?

That was all to do with Jennifer Ewing and her dad Jim. Jennifer, our lead actress, is from Port Townsend and for a while as a teenager, lived in Edinburgh where the film is set. Her dad, jim, who is involved in the Film Festival worked with our cinematographer, Rich,  while he was here and when we came to cast the film, Rich mentioned he knew an actress who was into comics. Jennifer was living in New York at the time, but we sent her a script and she filmed an audition and we loved it. So Jennifer was cast and when the film was complete it seemed natural to enter it into the Port Townsend Festival. it was accepted and by all accounts it received a great reception.

-The film was also screened at the San Diego Comic Con International Film Festival! That is huge for a comic book genre film to be seen there! What was the process like getting Electric Man selected to be part of the biggest comic show in the world?

It's pretty much the same selection process for all film festivals. You send off your baby with a hope and a prayer and wait for the judging process to be over. I remember hearing about this particular success because word got to us in Scotland at about 11pm and I was so happy. I knew we had to go and I phoned Scott Mackay (co-writer and Assoc Producer) to tell him. It was a great feeling, knowing that we'd be heading to the biggest geek gathering on the planet and somewhere that would be very important for the film in the long term.

-How well received was Electric Man in San Diego?

It went down really well. Even though it had played in the US prior to this, we were worried the accents might be tough for a US audience. We needn't have been concerned. the humour and energy of the film carried the screening and we were aware that the film had great market potential in the US and other English speaking countries.

-How much do you think Electric Man's U.S. dvd release will benefit from the Comic con exposure?

Firstly, we wouldn't have a US release on DVD and digital were it not for Comic Con. The buzz around the film's appearance is what led to us being picked up by FilmBuff (digital distribution) and us seeking out a DVD distributor (Passion River). However, we played San Diego last year, so we have to build up a buzz around the film again by getting reviews out, doing interviews like this one and generally trying to get the word out about our film with a minute promotion budget. If there's anyone out there who can help us with this, we'd urge you to get in touch.

-Are there plans to screen Electric Man in any other U.S. cities? If so, How can fans bring it to the big screen in their town?

We're screening at a Con in North Carolina this coming weekend and we'd love to be screened in more places. The best way to see this film is with an audience. There may be other plans to come on this, perhaps in conjunction with tugg. But, again, if anyone wants to arrange a screening, get in touch and we'll do everything we can to help make it happen. There are venues all over the world, which are not cinemas, which you can hire and project or show the film on a TV to an audience. We're very open to sending people resources to help them make it happen and for them and us to make a buck.

-Electric Man was co-written by you and Scott Mackay. What inspired the story?

Scott wrote the original script in the late 90s while he was a student in England. It literally came to him in a dream and he spent the next three days putting it on paper. He showed it to me and I became involved in developing it. It got a bit of interest and then nothing so it was put on the back burner and then resurrected in 2009, when we decided to make a low budget feature. At that point we significantly re-wrote the entire movie, changed the main characters around (Jazz was originally the ladies man) and put in more scenes with cell phones.

-Im totally impressed with the film. Its a great mix of adventure, comedy, romance, especially COMIC BOOKS...all done in a couple weeks on a small budget! Was there any point in the movie making process, that you didnt think Electric Man would see the light of day?

Literally every day you're making a micro budget feature, you're thinking, when is this all going to fall around our ears. One major delay, a sick actor, an accident, inclement weather and that's it, you're screwed. yo only have to look at Terry Gilliam's attempts to make the Don Quixote movie to see that this isn't just something that applies to our budget level. But, the Gods were with us and even though we had some weather problems and day to day issues, we managed to compromise where required and persevere to get to the finish line.

-Since I brought up comics, Were you a comic book geek, yourself?

I was. I was born in 1969, so I was eight when Star Wars was released. That film changed my life and the lives of countless other children of the seventies. In the UK, 2000AD (Judge Dredd) launched quickly after Star Wars and I was hooked. From there I found DC and Marvel but it wasn't until we got to the eighties and Alan Moore (who started on 200AD) and Frank Miller were writing that I really got into comics. From there I found people like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison and from there onwards I've tended to follow writers I like rather than particular characters.

-Ive seen the great Electric Man promo mini comic, but has there been any thought about actually creating an Electric Man comic book?

Funny you should mention that. We've had a great deal of interest in this, so we're about to release Issue 1 in October?November. It's being drawn by Graham Manley, who drew the opening title sequence  for the film and it will available initially through www.electricmancomic.com. There's also an indiegogo campaign supporting it's creation here - http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/electric-man-needs-you

-Is there anything else you would like to add about the film and its upcoming release in the U.S.?

I just hope people out there are willing to give us a chance. We don't have a massive marketing budget to promote this so it's down to word of mouth and websites like yours to help. Watch the film and if you like it, tell people and we'll make some more.

-How about yourself? Can you share a little of your background in the entertainment industry?

At the moment I own and run a film production company called Strange Boat. We do corporate films and education work and the occasional documentary. I've been writing screenplays for a long time and have another four unproduced, two as a co-writer. Scott and I both used to write role playing games, I did some Call of Cthulhu work and Scott wrote an acclaimed Cyberpunk adventure called 'Night City Stories.'

We made Electric Man out of a frustration of not being able to get projects made through normal channels.

-In my personal opinion, as enjoyable as Electric Man is, we can expect a lot more from David Barras in the future! Is there anything exciting on the horizon?

Hopefully, but what that might be is hard to say. We've developed an idea to have Jazz and Wolf return in sitcom form, we also have an idea for a sequel as well as the other features I mentioned above. Who knows but there'll be something. Watch this space.

-Any websites or anything you want to plug?

Please join us on Facebook or Twitter. Go to www.electricmanmovie.com and www.electricmancomic.com and you'll get all the relevant links there.

And if you enjoy the film, tell people, review it and if you don't like it remember the name Transformers 4 !