Monday, July 30, 2012

Hollyshorts 2012 Get the PERIODS: Q&A with Victor Quinaz and Anna Martemucci

Re:Creation of the Apple Crunch in Paradise
If you haven't heard it by now, this year's 8th Annual Hollyshorts Film Festival will be blooming with the world premiere of PERIODS.

The film festival held at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre from 9 to 16 August will see a flush of indie short films called PERIODS which are created by Victor Quinaz, Anna Martemucci and produced by Before The Door Pictures.

The quirky and often-tripped-out comedy series will open for Hollyshorts with the premiere of a new PERIODS piece starring Penn Badgley. Even “White Collar”'s Mozzie, Willie Garson has got his PERIODS too. He made a royally sweet appearance in a recent release called “FOPS”. Check it out below:

No topic is taboo with the PERIODS team as they make irreverent prods on a gamut of subjects from pilgrims, USA's founding fathers and one onery Santa, to witches, Vikings, exorcism and a re-take on the creation story.

Which brought me to wonder --- what kind of fun, warped minds are behind the making of PERIODS? Well, here are New York-based duo Victor Quinaz and Anna Martemucci to tell us more about their impudent brainchild.

1. Tell us how did the idea of PERIODS came about?
Anna: PERIODS came about when Victor and I realized that we spent a lot of our time writing screenplays and talking about "one day" making movies and that there wasn't a lot of fun in that, or at least not as much fun as actually doing it. Then we looked around and realized that we had a group of awesome people around us who, like a group of superheroes (if you will), each had unique skills. Instead of waiting around any longer to get enough interest or enough money to make a feature-length screenplay, we decided to try making shorter stuff with these great people we knew, on the cheap, for nothing but the fun of it. Simultaneously, a funny idea popped up between us (“Pilgrims”), so we went with it like an experiment, and the rest is history.

Victor: It helped that we were also a full time (yet small) commercial production house and our crew was as funny in front of the camera as they were smart asses behind it.

2. Were there some PERIODS ideas that were just nipped at the bud from the beginning? Can you tell us some of those that never got made?
Anna: I really want to do an "old bathing suits" Periods. that has yet to be made. We had this thing all laid out with Charles Darwin looking at people in bathing suits and talking about evolution. It ultimately didn't happen. I think I just want to see Phil (Quinaz) in one of those crazy high wasted man bathing suits. And I love those old swim caps. For me a lot of PERIODS ideas start from a simple desire to dress my friends up in a funny way. It's just too much fun.

3. How much of PERIODS was improv and how much planned/ edited? Out of the bunch of regulars, who is the best at coming up with the strangest improv?
Victor: It varies from film to film. We usually have at the very least an outline of stuff that needs to happen and we improvise within that. Sometimes if we're telling a more complicated story, we'll write a full script and let the actors improvise a bit, but make sure to also get what was written.

Anna: After we shoot, there's another level of "writing" (perhaps the most important) that happens within the edit room with Charlie Porter, when we figure out how to best tell the story we want to tell and also use the best improvised bits that our lovable stable of crazies have come up with during the shoot.

All of our regulars are incredible improvisors. Philip Quinaz has a freakish ability to come in and make something at once insanely grounded and insanely funny and is one of the quickest on his feet with jokes. Mary Grill is also crazy quick with a seemingly endless perfect joke arsenal and has a way with physicality that is undeniably genius. Alison Fyhrie is always spot on and has an amazing ability to do these really subtle shifts in a straight woman "this one's bitchy, but sheltered," "this one's worried someone's going to hit her all the time." She kills me. Giovanni Autran has some of the best sleeper lines ever. His presence is so interesting to me. "Preach" from “Ethan Frome” is one of my favorite characters. The person who can come up with the weirdest stuff though? I think I have to give that to Brian Shoaf. The stuff that comes out of his mouth unprovoked is so good, so weird, so detailed, and so right, that we're often really mad that we did not write it.

Victor: Anna's being modest...she also comes up with some of the weirdest stuff!

Watch “Before After II”:

4. Have any of you ever had to stop filming PERIODS because you couldn’t stop laughing? Who is usually the main distracting culprit?
Anna: The most intense laughing jag that I can remember had to be in “Before After II” when there was a large group of us standing in front of an elevator with Zach. We weren't quite sure where the scene was going and we were throwing things out. We decided to talk about a not-very-serious knee disease called "Osgood-Schlatter's" that a friend of mine from high school used to complain about. I have no idea why this was funny. It was simply a silly name: "Osgood-Schlatters", but once we tried to have a normal conversation on camera about Osgood-Schlatters, it was like twenty minutes before any of us could breathe from the laughing. Tears streaming everywhere. Also Quinto's hair looked way more feathered in person, and I think we decided his character was named "Brad," which somehow contributed, for me anyway.

Victor: Brian Shoaf and Penn Badgley also had a hard time in our latest one saying a certain word over and over while maintaining fierce eye contact....but we'll let that be a surprise.

5. Which is your favourite PERIODS piece? And why?
Anna: A lot of us seem to have a soft spot for “Ethan Frome”. It was just a special one. The tiny shed, the giant bible, the slow sled....they all presented themselves like gifts from our friend Yamin Segal's property, and those gifts turned out to be hilarious, in our opinion.

Victor: Our next one. May be the most bizarre take on the most serious book of all time.

The bloody imaginative creators
6. What did you guys do when you first heard the news about opening for the Hollyshorts Film Festival? Will there be anything special planned during opening night?
Victor: I mean we were obviously floored. It's something you never think will happen (re: opening a film festival). Certainly makes all the nights in Prospect Park waiting for the airplane sounds to pass well worth it. AND I think the biggest surprise (most special thing) will be that we have been making, somehow, this feature the whole time with all these small pieces. I think people will be pleasantly surprised how it all fits together.

7. Can you give us any teeny-weeny hints about “Imperial Palace”? What is it about? Any small teasers?
Victor: Uh...It's a love story. A crazy love story that takes place in the first 24hrs of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. And it's not about New Orleans, it's about Biloxi. How's that for a movie that hasn't been made yet?

Ugh. All these juicy tidbits of information!

I am so terribly intrigued by the mention of a PERIODS feature film which possibly strings these pieces together. It is just too bad I don't have a willing sponsor to get me to Hollywood for the film festival. Especially since those lean Zachary Quinto biceps will be present to host the opening night of Hollyshorts.

But.... !
My friends including @eserei27, @syellefan88 and @HardlyanAngel will be there at Hollyshorts to give their fangirly support to the PERIODS and Before The Door team. I am hoping that they will be able to get the best dibs from their adventures there.

Having PERIODS has never sounded more fun!


Thanks so much to Victor Quinaz and Anna Martemucci for taking the time with the Q and A!

Credit: Photo of Vincent and Anna on some bloody film set was taken from Victor Quinaz's twitter photo stream 

Check out more about PERIODS from the following places:


  1. I'll be attending the HollyShorts festival, so I might get to finally meet Victor, Phil, and the gang. Should be fun!