Tag Archives: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Chasing Tarantino: An Interview with Con Christopoulos by Kent Hill

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What price do you put on a dream? How much do you give, day after lonely day, on the steady climb toward that magical vision that no one else can see . . . but you? The truth is we all started that way. Then you learn that if you dream in one hand and crap in the other – one fills much quicker. The chances you are given dictate some of your rise, while luck, that iconic variable which many still refuse to acknowledge as an important player in their ensemble equaling in triumph, can also see you cross the finish line just as effectively. Being in the right place, at the right time.

Yet, the main forces that drive those with an obsession to see their dreams realized on film are hunger . . . and heart. So, I give to you the story of Con Christopoulos – a man whose relentless courage, determination and passion was at once inspiring, gravitating and above all, infectious. Con’s drive – the sheer pleasure that emotes from his lips while talking about the victories and defeats he has known along the path to unleashing his cinematic voice upon the world is simply staggering. I have seldom met others like myself – those faced with impossible odds and uncertain conditions in the seas before us as our voyage continues – that has exhibited so completely all of the pure exuberance and discipline required to see the journey through to that glorious moment, when the house lights dip, and the screen fills with all you have. The grand total of a life spent loving movies.

I first encountered Con when I saw a Facebook post and a video entitled Chasing Tarantino. I sat and watched in amazement as the man on the clip boldly declared, most convincingly I might add, that he had a truly captivating story and was desperately seeking passage into the halls of power, where the mighty QT might be sitting, idly waiting, for the next big thing. As intrigued as I was curious, I contacted Con and asked to read his opus. It was then he told me that he had pitched the idea to Australian genre-film legend Roger Ward. Ward had apparently warmed to the concept and said if the film ever materialized, he would be on board. After hearing this and reading the material I automatically thought of the great Ozploitation director, Brian Trenchard-Smith. I told Con I would attempt to reach out to Brian with the hopes he might at least have a glance at the treatment and offer some feedback.

To my delight he did just that. He was critical but constructive, as Brian always is, and it does one good to have notes from the masters. You move forward with a new sense of purpose and a rejuvenating feeling coursing through your body, fortified a little more before again breaking camp, trying once more to reach the summit.

It’s hard not be romantic about dreamers. They, after all, are responsible for some for the scintillating, sublime and stupendous visions and stories, music and magic – the stuff that keeps the cycle perpetuating. An inspired individual realizes his dream and shows it to the world. One or more members of the audience are so moved to action, ignited from within, that they then, in turn, devote their lives to such a pursuit.

This is the story of one such dreamer…

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Don’t Argue: A Conversation with an Australian Screen Icon by Kent Hill

David Argue is a brilliant, unpredictable talent. At his greatest when left to his own devices and instincts, he has graced Australian screens for the better part of five decades.

Gaining is equity card as an infant, he soon found his way to the National Institute of Dramatic Arts whose graduates include the likes of Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon, Braveheart), Judy Davis (Celebrity, Absolute Power) and Colin Friels (Dark City, Darkman) just to name a few. He has worked with our finest behind the camera as well, under the direction of Peter Weir (The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society), Brian Trenchard-Smith (The Man from Hong Kong, Turkey Shoot) and Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, The Shadow).

He has enjoyed a career of richly diverse roles. Playing everything from outback lunatics to bumbling criminals to budding cinema proprietors. Sharing the screen with the cream of both Australian and international talent from a then unknown Nicole Kidman to being the cellmate of Ray Liotta.

David has watched the industry thrive, shrink and change as well as having the distinction of seeing himself decapitated. (If anyone out there reads this and knows the whereabouts of David’s fake head from the film Blood Oath – he would like it back)

Now at the end of his career, David sat down with me, in one of the most fun and certainly funniest conversation I’ve yet had, and talked about his life of many parts, about his hours of strutting and fretting upon the stage, as well as his hopes for a BMX Bandits 2.

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the irrepressible, the incomparable, the irresistible David Argue.

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The Blind Wolf speaks: An Interview with Kurando Mitsutake by Kent Hill

Independent film making is a minefield.

I recall Tarantino being asked for his advice on how to break into the film business. In his response he compared films to waves breaking against the shore. One after another, after another. I’m paraphrasing here, but at the end of his answer he said if you really want people to stand up and take notice, then you have to put a killer shark on one of those waves.

Kurando Mitsutake has been climbing the mountain towards success in the industry for a while now. Burdened by low budgets and tight schedules, he has refused to surrender to defeat by virtue of his tenacity and creativity. Thus he has gone on to produce a collection of eclectic, action-packed explosions that not only homage but summon the spirit of the heady days of that glorious age that saw the rise of exploitation cinema.

Beginning with his audacious debut Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf, Mitsutake brought to my mind memories of Jodorowsky’s El Topo as he would himself write, direct, produce and even star in the ultra-violent extravaganza that carried all the delightful hallmarks of a revenge western, along with shades of Kenji Misumi’s Lone Wolf and Cub series.

Success lies at the ends of roads that present everything from gentle rises to precipitous falls. Kurando has known both and has managed to endure. His ability to deliver furious and engaging movies on a shoestring has preempted his rise, and rise again. He is a filmmaker on the verge of greatness, and what he may he yet achieve with a healthier budget or, dare I say it, studio backing will be (I have no doubt) a film the likes of which the world has not yet experienced.

He was an absolute delight to talk to and I say to you now, mark well and remember – Kurando Mitsutake has only just begun. His journey will captivate, his cinema will excite.

I give now, The Blind Wolf himself . . . . Kurando Mitsutake.